We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Nadya Ramos a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Nadya, thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today We’d love to go back in time and hear the story of how you came up with the name of your brand?
The name of my company is MRK, pronounced mar•ka. In Spanish the word has two meanings–brand and mark. There’s a play on the spelling of the word that calls attention to the use of Spanglish in Hispanic American culture.
I came up with the name after conducting months of research on the marketing and advertising industry for my master’s thesis. That’s when I learned about the huge diversity gap in the industry.
Throughout my career, I recall often being the only Latina woman in rooms where organizations, brands, and businesses discussed marketing strategy and made decisions regarding their communications channels and messaging.
In the past, I never gave this too much thought. I felt lucky to even have the opportunity to sit in on these meetings and learn from other professionals in the field. That changed when I started reading about the small numbers of Hispanics/Latinos that make up the industry. According to a diversity report published by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), between 2018 to 2020, the marketing and advertising industry in the U.S. remained virtually unchanged in terms of diversity, even as racial and ethnic diversity among the country’s population continues to increase. As a working professional in the communication field, I take the work that I do seriously and understand the impact that it has on society at large.
I advise and service small business owners–one of the fastest growing sectors and economic drivers in the U.S.
I feel I have a responsibility to create and disseminate messaging that accurately reflects the makeup of the publics my clients serve. Diversity and inclusivity is deeply ingrained in the work that I do with my clients from an equality perspective but also from a business perspective. According to Marc Pritchard, chair of the ANA’s board of directors, “Equal representation builds greater access to opportunity. Equal representation leads to equity in income and wealth creation. That leads to more purchasing power—which leads to market growth.”
I strongly believe, doing what is right is no longer just a feel-good thing; it is also essential for businesses to grow, especially in nations like the U.S. with populations that are diversifying at a fast rate.
My vision for MRK is to advance the growth of small business owners and solopreneurs looking to leave a mark in their communities through personalized marketing support and done-for-you social media and content creation services.
Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers
I am a full-time content creator and content marketing strategist. I started my career as a public relations intern, then went on to work as a social media manager, and shortly after I discovered my passion for marketing.
When I’m working with brands, I focus on content creation for sponsored campaigns to share and recommend products and services I use in my day to day. I also work with small business owners and solopreneurs to create content for blogs and social media channels, and consult on email marketing campaigns for new product launches.
What sets me apart from the rest is my motto in life–to lead with what moves me. Sometimes I find myself taking on a client or a project that on paper, might seem like a wrong move. But if I feel it in my heart that it is right, I go ahead and take on the challenge.
Can you open up about how you funded your business?
I started my business with a $1,000 loan from my mom, small investments from my family, and some money from personal savings.
In the first few months, I remember having to use my husband’s computer to get work done. Eventually, my mom, sisters, and my husband pitched in to buy me a laptop. This was one of the first big-ticket items I acquired as a new entrepreneur.
I wish I could say that my story is unique but it isn’t. USA Today published an article on Latino-owned small businesses and their sources of funding are very similar to mine.
Source: ‘Puro cash’: Latinos are opening more small businesses than anyone else in the US (https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/news/nation/2020/02/24/latino-small-business-owners-becoming-economic-force-us/4748786002/)
I am hopeful that change is around the corner and am looking forward to evolving into a change agent who creates opportunities for Hispanics, Latinos and other minorities to excel in the communications field. In the future, I aim to create scholarship and paid internship programs for those looking to embark in a career in marketing.
Where do you think you get most of your clients from?
Word of mouth has by far been the best source of new clients for me. When I decided to start my own business, I focused on what sometimes in marketing is referred to as the “low-handing fruit.” This segment of people are those you’d have easy access to or could get access to with minimal effort. Think…your friends and family, friends of friends, and colleagues.
Since launching my business, I’ve come across many brands who are focused on growing a social media following, not realizing the value of their existing audience, no matter how small.
Instead of getting caught up in the numbers, I decided to invest my resources in the relationships. To share the news about me going out on my own, I created a mini campaign targeting my friends and family. This included:
1. Reaching out by text or email to those in my circle who I knew were launching or growing their own side hustles or small business. I set up complimentary one-on-one consulting sessions with those needing help with social media and email marketing. I asked for nothing in exchange but did communicate that their feedback or a testimonial would be helpful and appreciated. Investment:
-countless hours of research, strategizing, and coordinating meeting times prior to each session
-between 45 min – 90 min for each session
2. Updating my employment information on my personal Facebook page and LinkedIn.
-1 hour updating each page
-1 hour responding to comments and messages from people congratulating me and wishing me luck
3. Lastly, I created “Thank You For Your Support” boxes with branded gear and a personalized note.
-branded gear, shipping materials, and shipping costs= $1,000
-4 weeks collecting mailing addresses, packaging boxes, and making trips to the local post office
About a year later, I have secured close to 15 clients–the majority from people who I’ve either worked with before or heard about me through a friend or colleague.
Word of mouth is a powerful tool but when you’re starting out, it’s hard to get people talking about you before they’ve ever worked with you. This is where the content marketing comes in. Social media has made it a little easier for new brands to tell their own stories. I put my PR hat on and began disseminating news and updates about what I was working on months before I signed on my first paying client.
My recommendation to those launching a new brand on a budget is to focus on the relationships first, the numbers second. Also, be resourceful and put these online channels to good use.
- Website: https://www.nadyaramos.com/consulting
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nadyaramos_/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nadyaramos.creator
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nadyaramos/
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcf6coraxSwIuoaghl2lQDQ/featured
Aubrie Evans Cristina Stathakis