Kansas City company paraMi helping Latinas challenge stigmas

Kansas City, Mo. – A woman-led business connecting Latinas in metro Kansas City through apparel and home goods lines.

If you’ve been to a festival or community event in the metro, you’ve probably seen T-shirts with the words “KC Latina” or “No soy tu chacha” on sale.

It was created by four local women who started a business called hempmeans “for me”.

Women start businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Veronica Alvidrez, CEO and co-founder, said they got the idea to start this business because they felt isolated and wanted a way to connect with the Latino community.

“It really comes from this shared experience — we’re frustrated, we feel like we’ve lost our voice, and we also need a way to express ourselves,” Alvidrez said.

Their first product was a mug that said, “No soy tu chacha,” which means “I am not your maid.”

“So we’re trying to establish that the attitude is, ‘Hey, you know, you can clean your own plate, you can take it yourself. It shouldn’t be expected of me,'” Alvidrez said.

Since the business launched, they have added men’s shirts, hats, totes and mugs.

Silvia Marin, one of the business’ founders, said their products are about instilling pride for the Hispanic community. She said a shirt that says, “I’m not your maid,” challenges the stigmas and perceptions that Latina women face.

“We know what we want is to get our voice out there and feel represented in the Midwest because there’s not a lot of representation for Latina or Hispanic culture for that matter,” Marin said, “and also, to help break down gender roles. The gender barriers of what that is expected from Latina and our culture that we can do more.

“We see that stigma is still playing out today, you know,” Alvidrez said. “So during the day, I’m a 9-to-5, I’m an educator, and I spend a lot of time with young men and young Latinas, and I still hear the same message that we hear about ‘graduate. High school, get married, have kids,’ you know? So the demands are high, but the expectations are still very low.

The creative phrase has also become a talking point for paraMi’s live discussions on Instagram.

“There are many women we meet with big dreams,” said Alvidrez. “It not only equips them with the confidence they need, but also the resources. We accidentally, in a way, become a resource center for many other women who need to connect or want to connect to promote their own business.

At the end of the day, Alvidrez and Marin said it was an amazing experience to inspire and build confidence in Latina women in the metro.

“Maybe life has told him no or this is in your path, but really we are in a world today where you can create your own path,” said Alvidrez. “So if he’s out there watching, I’ll tell him that.”

“We want to come out here to inspire others,” Marin said. “You really can do it, you can be a mom, and you can be an entrepreneur, and you can do all these things. And we want to give you that push.”

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