The amount of Latinx-owned businesses is rocketing in the United States.According to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC), every year, nearly 4.4 million of these businesses contribute to over $700 billion to the economy, and since 2012 the companies have grown 31.6 percent.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that 60 million Hispanics are currently living in the United States (about 18% of the overall population), a number that, if keeps increasing, projects 120 million Latinos by 2060. The New American Economy report also revealed that in 2015, Hispanic households contributed almost $215 billion to U.S. tax revenues as a whole, giving to the Nation nearly $36 billion in state and local taxes and over $61 billion in taxes to the federal government.
One of those Latinx businesses making America great is SecondWind, a small, women-owned company based in NYC and founded by fashion stylist Karen Perez. To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, Perez shared with HOLA! USA, how she is inspiring people to feel confident, stylish, and comfortable within our new normal.
HOLA! USA: When’d you start your career?
Karen Perez: “I knew from a young age that I wanted to work in fashion– I come from a long line of clothing makers in Latin America and the U.S., so when it came time for me to get my first job in high school, to help make ends meet I naturally went straight into retail. From there, I took courses relevant to Fashion Marketing in college and then had a 15 year-long career as a fashion stylist before creating my brand.”
Tell us about the creative and the assembly process of your masks?
“When the pandemic hit, I had several clients come to me searching for a flattering mask, comfortable and stylish, so I sought them out all over. I looked into brands in Asia where masks are more of a commonly accepted accessory and European designers but couldn’t find anything that satisfied all three criteria. So I knew I had to make them.
A lot of thought goes into the concept behind my masks. For starters, it’s the cut — I didn’t like this idea of women being, in some sense, more covered up than we already are. We are often silenced and overlooked, and now due to the pandemic, we have to hide our faces. Another issue is that most masks are widely cut and sit squarely on the face, which creates more of a masculine look, which I feel that most women would not prefer. My mask is cut to accentuate the natural contour of feminine features many women seek to enhance, and we have several versions for this purpose. It also helps with the comfort because the cut and detailed sizing allow the mask to lay seamlessly on the face instead of sitting heavily across it. As for fit, I spent weeks trying to find the best for it to be available for all face shapes and sizes.
This post first appeared on us.hola.com