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business profile

I Run This: Julio Lopez Velasquez, Formosa Hot Sauce

Name: Julio Lopez Velasquez

Location: Silicon Valley

What is the name of your business and what do you do? 

Formosa Enterprises Inc (Formosa Hot Sauce), Tomorrowland Productions, and Global Group Realtors

Describe yourself in three words. 

Goals-and-dreams seeker

Why did you decide to start your own business? How did you get started? 

At 36 I sat at the edge of my bed tired of not doing what I loved and I asked myself “What did I want to be and do when I was a kid?” The answer was that I wanted to have my own food products that I could be proud of, make films, and act.

How did you get started? 

I bottled a few bottles of the hot sauce and sent it to the lab and the results were amazing! Gluten free, vegan and the acidity was perfect. I signed up for The International Fancy Food Show and the rest is history

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Formosa Hot Sauce (@formosasauce)

What was the biggest lesson you learned in the first year? 

Research, research, research and don’t listen to negative people. Just keep going.

How does running your own business make you feel? 

When you are doing what you love, it’s not work. But honestly it is scary—you just have to take the risk.

What are some of the hurdles or roadblocks you’ve faced? 

Many. But you have to understand that those are just tests to get you to the next level. From resources, to not understanding the market, and learning to say no.

What are some challenges that Hispanic/LatinX small business owners face that others may not? 

Discrimination due to accents or culture barriers, no support from different and from our own community, and stereotypes or assumptions from the marketplace.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Formosa Hot Sauce (@formosasauce)

What unique perspectives do you bring to the small business economy as a Hispanic/LatinX business owner?

We can make it in any business, we just need to be persistent and educate ourselves enough so we can overcome the many rejections that we face. We are essential to the growth of the economy because we provide work, goods, and services that are essential to communities around the world.

What are some of your major wins or accomplishments? What are your proudest moments? 

Many, but one is when my mom came to visit from Guatemala and I took her to buy groceries. I heard her screaming from the opposite side of the store and calling my name so I dropped everything and when I got there she was pointing at the bottles of Formosa Hot Sauce. She was ecstatic and she said in Spanish “Mira tienen tu salsa aqui!” (They have your hot sauce here!).

What are the next big plans you have for your business?

We are exporting the hot sauce to Japan and Australia, but I want my hot sauce to be in every American household and around the world, as well.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Formosa Hot Sauce (@formosasauce)

When you’re having a tough day, who or what inspires you to keep going? 

I learned a long time ago that we need to focus on the good and not the bad, to count my blessings and understand that there are no bad days—just tests that we need to pass to go to the next level. I also rely on God.

How can Hispanic/LatinX small businesses give back to their community? 

By helping others or mentoring them, and getting involved in organizations that support our community. But ultimately, hire and train people from our community.

What advice would you give other Hispanic/Latino entrepreneurs just starting out? 

If it is in your heart and you love what you are about to do—do it. Ask yourself why you want to do it and make sure that it is aligned with your values and your wants.

What’s your “power song” and why? 

“Hasta que me olvides” by Luis Miguel I relate to the impact that you can make on people, friends, or significant others and—if it’s positive—they will never forget how you make them feel.

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