Carolina Tejedor Meyers '11SM Found Inspiration Interviewing Minority Female Entrepreneurs

August 05, 2015

MBA Alumna Carolina Tejedor Meyers was influenced by her SOM project and founded Caramelo Clothing Company.

Article first appeared in Spring 2015 SOM Management Magazine

The first inkling that locally-owned shops are the heart and lungs of a flourishing neighborhood hit me in my native Bogota, Colombia. In a city of entrepreneurialism, intense energy, and occasional danger, the storefront—immaculately swept, deliciously decorated, and constantly watched over by shopkeepers—stood for stability, power, and new ideas. Even as a teenager I had a keen sense that the local merchants had an influence that infused the neighborhood in ways that were subtle, yet sturdy. 

More than a decade later, during a business school project in Boston for which I interviewed minority female entrepreneurs just beginning to leave their marks, I saw the influence that local Latina women have over their families—both children and adults—as breadwinners, decision-makers, and role models of power, imagination, vision, and persistence. They inspired in me the value of assertive curiosity, patience, targeted questions, and occasional silence in forging deep, durable connections with a local community. 

Caramelo Clothing is a family-run business. People love the store—they tell us all the time. They love the mix of smooth and clunky. They dig the Latin music in the background and the way it makes them swing their hips without even trying. We hand-pick every single item we sell because we love it and we know we can find a good home for it in Boston. Matching the clothing to the person is our bailiwick, and we won’t fool anyone. If it looks good, damn right we’ll let you know. If it’s too tight in the shoulders or just not your color, we’ll give it to you straight. We want you to walk out of the store—regardless of whether you’ve made a purchase—and say, “Man, that was fun!”

Read complete article from Spring 2015 Simmons SOM Management Magazine