Entrepreneur Profile

Entrepreneur Profile

Dori Duncan, Youth-Focused Fashion Entrepreneur

Throughout March, we highlighted Xochitl Guerrero, Lourdes & Fatima Lara, and Penny Baldado - women who pursued and achieved their entrepreneurial dreams. Today, we feature our final #WomensHistoryMonth entrepreneur, Dori Duncan, a fashion designer who translated her talents into a successful start-up with the help of AnewAmerica. Camp Fashionista provides a place where children and young adults of all skill levels learn how to create and sew their own designs.

Business Name: Camp Fashionista
Type of Business: Design school for children and young adults
Location: San Jose

Dori Duncan owns and operates Camp Fashionista, a flourishing design school for children and young adults. In San Jose since 2010, Camp Fashionista fills the gap for young people who want to get trained on the craft of sewing and clothes creation. Dori runs workshops and classes that are accessible to learners of all ages.

Dori considers herself a role model for young people interested in design. For example, one of her students is a 16-year-old boy who has a passion for making designs. Through Camp Fashionista, Dori helps him build his skills and confidence. Dori also provides classes to youth in foster care and donates her studio once a month to Sew for Love, a community group that makes teddy bears and blankets for children in foster care and homeless shelters.

Dori Duncan, owner of Camp Fashionista

Turning A Lifelong Passion Into A Business

Having grown up in Los Angeles, Dori took an interest in fashion since childhood. She studied fashion design, graduating from the prestigious Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles. Though she moved away from design for a time when her children were young, she eventually returned to her passion, developing her business concept. However, she had little business experience.

One of Camp Fashionista's students, sewing her own design

AnewAmerica and the Success of Camp Fashionista

AnewAmerica helped Dori understand her business financials. Dori learned how to effectively use QuickBooks, social media, and participate in business competitions. Overall, AnewAmerica has helped Dori develop customer relations, understand her business fundamentals, and recast herself as a designer and business owner.

Camp Fashionista's Future

After five years in business, Dori now analyzes her past sales and surveys her customers on what they want to improve her operations. During the next five years, her goals include establishing a second location, franchising her business, and developing an exit strategy for her eventual retirement. Dori is thrilled that she has created a space for children and young people to pursue their passion for design - just as she pursued hers.

AnewAmerica salutes its women entrepreneurs who from all walks of life follow their passions and with their creative energy create a new opportunity for themselves and others.

We thank Xochitl, Lourdes & Fatima, Penny, and Dori for sharing their inspiring entrepreneurial journeys, and we thank you for joining us in honoring women entrepreneurs during #WomensHistoryMonth!



Check out Camp Fashionista's website: www.campfashionista.net

"We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community." - Civil Rights Leader and Human Rights Champion, Cesar Chavez #CesarChavezDay #SiSePuede

Follow us on Facebook, check us out on Twitter or join us on LinkedIn - in April, we'll be talking about environmentally responsible AnewAmerica entrepreneurs, just in time for Earth Day!

Penny Baldado, Community-Minded Chef and Entrepreneur

Now in our third week of #WomensHistoryMonth, AnewAmerica features Penny Baldado, who brought together talent, hard work and a sense of social responsibility to create Cafe Gabriela in Downtown Oakland. She runs a green business that provides healthy food to the local community while giving back in creative ways.


Business Name: Cafe Gabriela

Type of Business: Oakland community cafe serving local, love-inspired coffee and food

Location: Downtown Oakland

Since 2010, Penny Baldado has served up delicious espressos and pulled pork adobo sandwiches to the public at Cafe Gabriela in Downtown Oakland at Broadway and 10th Street. She donates to the local community, mentors foster youth in culinary skills, and uses her space to feature local artists at no cost. Having established herself in her first location, Penny now wants to open a second cafe and begin roasting her own beans. She plans to buy her beans directly from farmers in the Philippines.


An art exhibit commemorating the victims of police brutality, featured until May at Cafe Gabriela

Realizing Her Vision

Penny moved from the Philippines to the U.S. in 1999. As an immigrant, she struggled at first to find employment. She began by bussing tables at a restaurant, but she felt exploited and unsupported.

Penny persevered, and through her talent and industry, she became the Head Chef. This experience gave her the confidence to realize her own vision of an environmentally- and community-friendly restaurant. So in 2007, she sought out AnewAmerica's business development program.

The art gallery inside Cafe Gabriela

Growing A Business with AnewAmerica

Through the intensive training provided in the business classes and follow-up 1:1 technical assistance, she learned how to write and implement marketing, business and asset plans that incorporated social responsibility. With the help of AnewAmerica, Penny found the perfect site for Cafe Gabriela in Downtown Oakland. She named her restaurant after Gabriela Silang, a Filipina hero who fought against oppression.

To help cover her start-up expenses, AnewAmerica enrolled Penny in its matched savings program, through which she earned $6,000, and assisted her to obtain a 360Microfinance business loan. In addition, AnewAmerica gave Penny an AnewAmerica Business Grant made possible by the support of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Job Opportunities for Low-income Individuals program.

Penny, proud owner of Cafe Gabriela

A Thriving Cafe Focusing On Community, Health and Environmental Sustainability

Penny's cafe opened in May of 2010. In the spirit of being environmentally-conscious and saving money, she purchased second-hand equipment and materials. She made contacts with suppliers that shared her commitment to green business practices. During her menu-creation process, she remains dedicated to using local, fresh, and organic products.

Penny credits AnewAmerica in helping her dream cafe become a reality. She states, "AnewAmerica is very instrumental in bringing Cafe Gabriela into fruition. They have supported me through the whole endeavor. They've provided me with incredible classes, and contacts that are vital in the business preparation stages, such as legal services, grants, loans, and teaching me how to manage my budgets. I am definitely lucky to be a part of AnewAmerica. They have been with me from the very beginning."

For aspiring and existing entrepreneurs, Penny has the following advice:
1) Never stop educating yourself, and
2) Ask for help.

You can check out Cafe Gabriela's Facebook page or visit Penny at 988 Broadway, Oakland, CA.

To find out more about how to start your own business, go to our website: http://anewamerica.org/

For the rest of March, follow us on Facebook, check us out on Twitter or join us on LinkedIn - we'll be bringing you stories about our awesome women entrepreneurs, as well as useful tips on how to start and grow your own business!

Oakland Artist-Entrepreneur Xochitl Guerrero

Happy #WomensHistoryMonth!

This March, AnewAmerica celebrates women who have used entrepreneurship as a creative way to advance their passions. Today, we feature an artist-activist who has worked in Oakland for decades: Xochitl Guerrero.

Business name: Taller Xochicura
Type of business: Artist/activist/teacher
Location: Oakland

Xochitl is an Oakland artist-activist-teacher whose creations include studio fine art, murals, gourd decoration, and mosaic/tile art. She has exhibited locally, nationally and internationally.

Her career in Oakland began over 35 years ago working with youth, and she has re-invented herself by opening Taller Xochicura. To find new patrons, she uses social media and displays her work at festival booths, cafes and galleries. She has also contracted with communities and the City of Oakland to undertake mural projects. Besides the Bay Area, Xochitl has patrons and interested buyers quickly expanding to other areas including Los Angeles, New York, Florida and Hawaii.

AnewAmerica & Taller Xochicura

As a growing business, Xochitl sought out AnewAmerica to guide her to a successful transition. She says that AnewAmerica has not only given her the confidence she needs to sell at fairs, but also keeps her accountable for the goals she sets in coaching sessions.

Xochitl participated in our Savings Match Program, funded by Y&H Soda Foundation. Once she hit her target of $2,000 saved in December 2014, AnewAmerica matched her dollar for dollar so that she could put a total of $4,000 toward purchasing a laptop, camera and printer. These business assets increase her opportunities to sell her work online and showcase her portfolio. Xochitl plans to use them to grow her social media capabilities.

Inspiring Future Women Entrepreneurs

As a woman business owner, Xochitl is proud to stand up for herself and let everyone know that she owns Taller Xochicura. She hopes to inspire other women to find ways to do what they love, follow their dreams, and not give up!

To check out Xochitl's work, please email her: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

To find out more about how to start your own business, go to our website: http://anewamerica.org/

For the rest of March, follow us on Facebook, check us out on Twitter or join us on LinkedIn - we'll be bringing you stories about our awesome women entrepreneurs, as well as useful tips on how to start and grow your own business!

Green Cleaning Entrepreneurs- Lourdes & Fatima Lara

This week, in honor of #WomensHistoryMonth, we feature another inspiring entrepreneurial journey: the Lara sisters, Lourdes and Fatima, who have built a thriving green cleaning business in San Jose, Lara's Green Cleaning. They create jobs, provide a valuable, highly marketable service, and continue to build a future for their families.

Business name: Lara's Green Cleaning
Type of business: Cleaning business that uses eco-friendly, non-toxic products
Location: San Jose

Turning Obstacles into Opportunity: The Journey to Entrepreneurship

The Lara sisters emigrated to the United States from Guerrero, Mexico in 2004 to pursue greater economic opportunities. Once in the United States, though, they found that their then limited English skills added new difficulties first in finding work, then in advancing. Both mothers, they also needed flexible time off to care for their children.

Fatima's background in managing a cleaning business in San Jose inspired the sisters to open their own cleaning business. That's when Lourdes and Fatima connected with AnewAmerica.

Lourdes and Fatima, shown from left to right, graduated from AnewAmerica's business planning class in 2010.

A Lasting Connection: AnewAmerica and the Lara Sisters

Through AnewAmerica's intensive training and 1:1 on-going technical assistance, Lourdes and Fatima gained the skills and resources required to create a cleaning business that incorporated green business principles and eco-friendly, non-toxic cleaning products that are safe for themselves, their workers, and their clients. Says Fatima, "It's our responsibility to help the environment, which is why we dedicated ourselves to take care of it by utilizing natural nontoxic and biodegradable products."


Today, five years after starting Lara's Green Cleaning, Lourdes and Fatima are in expansion mode, creating jobs, generating income, and building a future for their families. They are in the process of updating their visual identity and further developing their on-line presence. And AnewAmerica is there, helping make their dreams a reality every step of the way.

Set Goals and Believe You Can Achieve Them

Fatima and Lourdes like to advise others who are thinking about becoming entrepreneurs. "Cuando alguien propone una meta, siempre tiene que pensar que si lo puede lograr, con esfuerzo y con mucha dedicación."

When you set a goal, you must always believe that you can achieve it, with effort and much dedication.
- Lourdes Lara


To contact Fatima and Lourdes at Lara's Green Cleaning, please go to their Yelp page or call them at (650) 391-7438.

To find out more about how to start your own business, go to our website: http://anewamerica.org/

For the rest of March, follow us on Facebook, check us out on Twitter or join us on LinkedIn - we'll be bringing you stories about our awesome women entrepreneurs, as well as useful tips on how to start and grow your own business!

Creating Economic Opportunities Through Our Matched Savings Program

Meet Inshirah. She's been an AnewAmerica client since 2011. Inshirah is a graduate student; she also owns and operates WataWaty (We are the Ancestors, We are the Youth), a fashion and design company. Inshirah designs her own clothing, jewelry, and prints. She sells her merchandise at a variety of festivals all year long.

To do all this she has to stay mobile. Unfortunately, earlier this year her car broke down and her business suffered. That is, until she joined AnewAmerica's exclusive matched savings program!

Inshirah's savings were matched dollar per dollar and in only 6 months, she was able to purchase a new vehicle. This vehicle helps Inshirah carry her tent, table, chairs and merchandise in her trailer when she participates as a vendor at festivals — helping her grow her business and generate revenue. She's also practicing the healthy savings behaviors learned in the program and strengthening her family's financial well-being!

The matched savings program is offered to AnewAmerica clients in the process of starting or growing their businesses.

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