We recently connected with Ana Quincoces and have shared our conversation below.
Alright, Ana thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. We’d love to hear the backstory behind a risk you’ve taken – whether big or small, walk us through what it was like and how it ultimately turned out.
As someone who has always sought control in all aspects of my life, giving up a 20-year career as a lawyer was a huge risk. Something I never imagined I would do.
While being a lawyer is something I’m very proud of, it is only one facet of who I am. I knew that if I didn’t take the risk to launch my Skinny Latina brand, I would live to regret it.
Still giving up a steady income and taking a huge pay cut to do something I’ve never done before was pretty ballsy if I do say so myself. Needless to say, I didn’t feel like a badass when I first started. Still today despite the success of Skinny Latina, I second guess myself and am always surprised when a new purchase order comes in from any of the four thousand retailers where Skinny Latina proudly sits on the shelf alongside brands like Heinz and Hellmann’s.
I knew the condiments market was huge. A market that is expected to grow to over 30 billion dollars by 2025. Even a small market share of that seemed plausible. The condiment space is crowded with masculine looking grilling sauces and I wanted Skinny Latina to stand out on the shelves.
Well-meaning advisors suggested I stick to the tried and true. They said the brand might be off putting to male customers and that it skewed too Latin.
Being a hardcore believer in my own gut instincts, I rebranded Skinny Latina with a feminine yet fun label. The risk paid off. It resonated with both male and female consumers. Today Skinny Latina is a general market product and has been embraced by people of all genders and ethnicities. I love that young Latinas- perhaps future entrepreneurs can see themselves when they stumble across a bottle of Skinny Latina at their local grocery store.
Despite the happy ending, the journey has been brutal. Uncertainty is something that I had to not only get comfortable with, I had to embrace it. It came at a cost. I’ve battled a mild form of depression for some time. The change in careers coupled with a divorce, followed by a broken engagement and some health issues created the perfect storm. I struggled every day to get out of bed and engage in my own business. A business that was flourishing in spite of me.
Doctors call it low level depression. I suppose that’s when you’re depressed but don’t want to kill yourself. It’s something you struggle with forever. It gets better and then life throws you a curveball and it rears its ugly head again. I still have my days but for the most part I am happy and productive.
I share this story because none of this is apparent looking from the outside in. Social media is the great deceiver and there are many people who struggle everyday despite the filtered pictures and the fascinating vacations. I want them to know, that they are not alone. I also want women to know that reinventing yourself is possible and very rewarding.
Ana, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
I wear so many different hats on a daily basis but I’ll give you the abbreviated version.
I work with many great brands. We collaborate on recipes and product endorsements which I really enjoy. I develop menus for restaurants, and consult with companies who want to launch their own food brands. I have a fourth cookbook in the works and the first of a series of children’s books. Both will be available early next year. I co-host a podcast with one of my daughters called “Okay Boomer”. The podcast highlights in a humorous way the differences between feuding generations as we discuss current events in pop culture, reality TV etc. It’s a lot of fun. I also have a cooking show in the works alongside someone I’ve wanted to work with for a long time, which I am very excited about.
But Skinny Latina still takes up the lion’s share of my time. She’s basically my third child. I created my brand because I believe everyone has a little chef in them. I think people who don’t cook are missing out. I felt that Top Chef and The Food Network made some people feel that good cooking was unattainable to them. Skinny Latina changed all that.
Our flagship product Skinny Latina Marinade & Sauce is truly a magic sauce. Everything tastes better when you hit it with some of that sauce. I don’t care what it is. It was created to be your secret ally in the kitchen. Whether you’re broiling, roasting, sauteing, slow cooking, pressure cooking or grilling, Skinny Latina will make it better. Any protein, any vegetable, soups, stews, sauces, I mean everything. Once people figured that out, they started venturing into the kitchen, good home cooks became great home cooks, kids were asking mom to make Skinny Latina chicken! I felt like the pied piper of cooking and that was exactly what I set out to accomplish.
I continue to innovate with new products and recipes that our customers love.
Do you think there is something that non-creatives might struggle to understand about your journey as a creative? Maybe you can shed some light?
My biggest and hardest lesson has been understanding that control is an illusion. In life generally, but particularly as an entrepreneur or creative.
You must get really comfortable with uncertainty and understand that the journey, the process, is much more important than the endgame. That you learn much more form your failures than you do your successes. That resilience is actually a super power. And that things that you earn are MUCH more rewarding than those that are handed to you.
It is not for the faint of heart, but if you have the stomach for it- do it. Bet on yourself.
Any insights you can share with us about how you built up your social media presence?
I consider social media to be a necessary evil. It is incredibly time consuming and there is always someone doing it better-putting out more content, creating spectacular brands out of thin air. It can be exceedingly frustrating and even paralyzing. So my best advice is to remember that ‘comparison is the theif of joy.’ You do you. Your audience will find you. There is always someone waiting for what you are creating. The key is to be authentic and forthcoming. Your followers are smarter than you think, so don’t insult their intelligence with things like too much self deprecation, humble braging, or faux authenticity. Growing your social media is not a marathon, there is no finish line. Not unlike Field of Dreams… if you build it, they will come.
- Website: AnaQ.com
- Instagram: @AnaQooks @OfficialSkinnyLatina
- Facebook: AnaQooks, Skinny Latina, Ana Quincoces
- Linkedin: Ana Quincoces
- Twitter: @OfficialAnaQ
- Youtube: @AnaQooks @SkinnyLatina @AnaQuincoces @Okayboomerthepod
- Other: Fireside: The Secret Sauce
Nick Garcia Katiana Sibley