We had the good fortune of connecting with Lauren Barela and Roslyn Silva and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lauren Barela and, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Sisters, Lauren and Roslyn were born into a family of entrepreneurs. Their grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins have owned and operated multiple family businesses, one being a working ranch in South Texas, where they grew up. Their parents too started out owning and operating a bed and breakfast when the two girls were young and living in Colorado. That love of creating and owning something you were passionate about and proud of, pulled the sisters into the world of small business ownership. Lauren and Roslyn were both small business owners prior to opening Keeted Corner in 2020, together for the first time. They both have business degrees and their family is a huge part of their work. They both have young sons who love helping create and grow the business and in hopes that one day the entrepreneurship spirit carries on. Lauren and Roslyn bring their love of creativity and family into the heart of our business. Lauren specializes in natural soaps, bath, and body products, and Roslyn creates personalized stationery.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
We both have business degrees and combined with our love of being creative ( inherited by our mom) we decided to turn those strengths and passions into a family business. Lauren started out making natural and artisan soap bars, using naturally derived ingredients including a soap base of all-natural oils, and the majority of my colorants are either powders from plants or nature like spinach, madder root, alkanet root, and seaweed, and clays such as rose clay, sea clay, Brazilian purple clay, and activated charcoal. I have a variety of essential oils I blend to go into my natural soaps, and in my artisan bars, I use a small percent of fragrance oils (less than 5% of my entire recipe). Roslyn has an eye for graphic design and a love for stationery, so she creates stickers, custom signs, custom banners, and invitations.
After a few months in business, we decided to start a loofah garden at our family’s South Texas ranch because the growing season is so much longer, and after 120 days after planting our seeds, we were harvesting our first crop of loofahs. It’s been such a great way to educate our customers and add to our natural, eco-friendly, sustainable product line. Click below for our full blog post on starting a loofah garden and our experience. https://keetedcorner.blogspot.com/2021/07/natural-sustainable-living-growing.html
Roslyn and I both owned and operated other businesses before joining forces, and I”m so glad it took us this long to come together because we learned so much from our past companies and are so much wiser now. We both are self-taught in e-commerce and have created multiple websites over the years, leaning into each other’s strengths to grow different parts of the company like social media, the website, and branding.
Lessons learned; do your research if you’re building your own website, talk to others who’ve been in your shoes, connect with others in your industry, and take the risk, because it can be so worth it.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If our best friends were visiting South Texas, we would take them to SPI, heading to some of our favorite spots like the jetties, dolphin watching off the bay, and a relaxed dinner at Pirates Landing. Head back to our hometown, take a ride in the gator through our 100-acre ranch, taking in the beauty of the wildlife and nature. We’d have a backyard BBQ with some of the best fajitas and tortillas in South Texas. Ending the night with a few family stories. We’d hit up Mcallen and the old downtown area, visiting a historic hotel and having a lavish lunch in their dining area, art galleries, and then the food truck park.
If the farmer’s market was in full swing, we’d find our favorite veggies and fruits. Lastly, we had to visit a flea market to cap off the nostalgic memories as a child, going there often with our Nana and coming come with amazing treasures.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
We give all our success and glory to God! Our spouses, family, and friends have been a part of and cheering us on every step of the way. We wouldn’t be fully vested if we didn’t believe in our products, but more importantly, we are encouraged every day by our loved ones. Lastly, our children cheer us on, help us, and want to be a part of our business journey. We want our children to experience ownership, leadership, creativity, and appreciation for all we’ve been blessed with, and maybe one day, they too will take the same path as we did.
Stephanie Rios Photography