BLOOD, SWEAT & TEARS, CELEBRATING 35 YEARS
The year was 1983. We were sitting at the kitchen table with my then husband, Raul, and he turned to me and said, “It would be nice to do some kind of business.” We brainstormed for awhile and then I said, “Hmmm, I have an idea! Why don’t you give me money to open a shoe store.” This might sound like a joke to some people, but not to my surprise, he thought this was a great idea. If you knew him, then you knew that he was adventurous, free spirited, gutsy, romantic, handsome, and honestly kind of crazy. He knew that my family in Mexico had a background in the shoe business. Maybe that’s why he didn’t seem to question my idea? He said, “Let’s do it”! Just like that. And one year later I opened Goler.
I was 28 years old when I opened and I had two children in elementary school. I was happily working in a well known clothing store in downtown Santa Fe, La Mariquita, maybe some of you remember it. I actually started in the stock area and then I moved into sales a few days later. Besides working in La Mariquita, I didn’t really have any experience in running a business. But apparently I counted for the few holidays at my aunt’s store in Guadalajara, Mexico and playing and running around in my grandfather’s shoe factory as enough!
I am sometimes shy to say that I dropped out of college at the age of 17 (yes, I had just started!). But it was love that made me give up my studies in Communications. I fell crazy in love with Raul ( I was 17) and he whisked me off with his Argentinian accent to the States (did I mention I was 17?). I did learn English as soon as I could, but I had no idea about words such as “financial statements,” “projections,” “maintained markup,” and all the other vocabulary one is asked to consider to run a business. But after 35 years in business all of this terminology has become part of my everyday life.
You can call it destiny or you can call it being at the right place at the right time- I don’t know. But I was able to open the store with barely any money, no experience, but pure determination. For some reason I didn’t mind being vulnerable in the business world. Perhaps it was being completely oblivious was part of my success.
I believe in angels. Raul was an angel in my life- he helped me in one fell swoop to open the store. After the store had been open a year, another angel came into my life. That was my brother, Alfonso. Lucky me, he was familiar and fastidiously organized about operations. He is the one who, to the day, maintains the smoothness of the store’s finances.
Perhaps I was too young to open a retail store, but I was (still am) naturally adventurous, free spirited, romantic, and a bit crazy myself. You have to be crazy to open a business with very little capital and no business experience. What I did have was a natural sense of fashion and by default I had knowledge of leathers and shoes. I also love people and if I may say so myself, I am a hard working woman. It was a blessing and a curse that I was totally clueless to how hard starting a business would be. The pressure and the stress when I opened took a toll on my health. Fortunately I surpassed it, but not without medical issues and some adjustments in my personal life. My brother has been with me every step of the way.
It has now been 35 years- I can’t believe we are celebrated our 35th year! I am filled with so many stories, ups and downs, but the angels keep coming. Both of my children are my angels and part of the business. My son, Chico, the love of my life, he who makes me laugh all the time and loves me unconditionally, is the one who does all the graphics of the store. My daughter is with me day in and day out. She flies around me, or perhaps it’s me who flies around her while we talk, laugh, fight, and sometimes cry. They both have been at my side in the good and in the bad.
How can anybody convey in a couple of paragraphs all of blood, sweat, and tears of the past 35 years? If anything, I have to give myself some credit for both my vision and determination. The universe has a funny way of bringing things full circle- in a way life has finally given me my “college degree” in Communications!
!!!Please write me with your thoughts at MY PERSONAL EMAIL- GUADALUPEJ4K@gmail.com !!!!