Q&A with Artist and Causepreneur Caro Tejada
“My projects promote mental health awareness and as an artist, it’s important to me to be original in conveying the message.”
1. What is a day in the life of Caro Tejada?
I truly live one day at a time. If I am not traveling for work my day consists of taking my daughter to school first thing in the morning, followed by making it to the gym (which always helps me stay fit mentally and physically.) As for the rest of the day, I stay productive by updating my mailing list with new contacts, updating my online store with new designs, following up with pending proposals, and coordinating new meetings. At some point during the week, I will also update my social media outlets so my followers are aware of everything that’s been happening.
2. What motivated or inspired you to become the creator you are today?
I have always been very driven. I come from classical ballet training which I am very grateful for because it taught me a great deal of work ethics, professionalism, teamwork, and sacrifice. A discipline and ímpetu that allows me to always bring my very best to the work environment. I have always had a passion for entrepreneurship, taking an idea and bringing it to fruition has been one of my great life interests. When I discovered that some children didn’t know what Hope was, I realized there was a need for hope in the world. It was my turning point in the right direction and here I am. My parents continued support and encouragement. My daughter!! I wish to leave my daughter a legacy of success and accomplished goals. She has seen my hard work and I want her to also see that hard work pays off.
3. How have your Latina roots influenced the professional you have become?
A great deal. I’ve had to face challenges of adaptation, I had to learn a brand new language. I had to want it THAT much more because I’ve had to work almost double for it. Being Latina equals being a warrior. Being passionate enough, disciplined enough, good enough, driven enough (and in two languages.)
4. What is the best part of your job?
That I can create more jobs! As an entrepreneur, (or causepreneur), I firmly believe that businesses should be started not to simply make money but to make a difference. To have a vision for the future, to become well aware of the sacrifices and to be passionate enough to persevere because you’re holding on to that vision of prosperity and inclusion.
5. What are some of the challenges you’ve had to face to get to where you are today?
Many. First I had to become well versed in the English language in order to finish college. I was terrified but education has always been a priority and I knew its importance. I graduated with a BA in Liberal Studies and a minor in Marketing, I did it. My mental health has also been a challenge. I’ve had to overcome postpartum depression as well as learning self coping skills. My family and support system has and continues to help me. When it comes to mental health, having a support system is essential.
The challenge of being a single mom, which isn’t easy to overcome. I’ve also had to face the challenges of making my voice heard.
6. How are you making a difference?
We are constantly raising mental health awareness via art projects. We bring the project to schools, family events, galas, foundations, marketing activations, etc. Our canvases have helped several foundations raise funds for their causes.
My life example might inspire others to pursue an education, to fully learn a new language. To work hard. To dream out loud! To stay positive, productive, efficient. To make plans. To be a good parent, (family is the most important thing.) To do soul searching in order to understand weaknesses and ignite strengths and share this information with others. To not get distracted for anything or anyone because time is very valuable, and at the end of the day, we are the choices we make. I truly want to make a difference in this world by opening a conversation, getting rid of mental health stigma and shaping a brighter future. We can do it, and hope is the key factor. The goal is not to live forever, but to create something that will.
7. How do you believe Latinas are impacting their companies, communities, and maybe even the world?
We are seeing more and more Latinas in position of relevance and power every single day in many sectors and fields. I couldn’t be any prouder of being part of such an important growing community. It’s a good time to acknowledge how valuable we are and to empower one another. The Latina community is shaping the future and this is only the beginning. Las Latinas del mundo estamos presente!
8. What are your professional staples (i.e. Leadership, innovation, strong marketing skills, creativity)?
Caro Tejada + Hope the Blue Robot is my brand! A brand of art, entrepreneurship, style, and originality. A message of hope, inclusion, and strength! My leadership has been organic. Over the years I have created a solid team of artists, partners, collaborators advisers, and patrons. I’m really proud of my team. Everyone is as important as the message itself, and I try to always lead with that in mind. Creativity is also one of my skill sets. I enjoy coming up with new designs, and/or ways of making an art event different, memorable, original. At one of my art events (where we unveiled the first mural in Miami symbolic of mental health by graffiti artist @Atomiko), I had a very special set of glassware displayed for example! People loved that. There is a lot of magic in the details. I also love marketing. I fully dressed up as the robot for Halloween this year and interpretive danced for candy ALL night. That was fun and more importantly, people were curious and wanted to learn more about my project. My projects promote mental health awareness and as an artist, it’s important to me to be original in conveying the message. Leadership, innovation, creativity, and marketing all come into play. There isn’t a day that passes by that I don’t do something for my brand.
9. What are you currently working on and what inspires you?
My intention is to keep influencing the community by creating a strong voice for groups of people through design and the arts.We are currently working on our next Hope the Blue Robot art event. It will place at the Key Clubhouse of South Florida’s Annual Luncheon. This is a wonderful foundation that secures housing and employment helping their members get reintegrated into society after suffering from mental illness. Our canvas will be auctioned onsite.
We are also getting ready for our third visit at the annual event: “A Day At The Park With Children in Foster Care.” This event is hosted by the Florida Association For Women’s Lawyers. One of our canvases created at this event is currently being displayed at EducateTomorrow.org.
My plan is to keep bringing the project to family events, foundation galas, the school sector, etc. I also wish to publish an illustrated children’s book in which I can share all the data I’ve collected over the years. We are seeking funding to accomplish this goal.
Since Nationwide featured and highlighted my designs at the Latina Style business series, I have added new products and designs to my brand Caro+htbr. It was fun incorporating vibrant fabrics to my collection.
My daughter inspires me to stay strong, to stay healthy, to stay focused and driven. To keep thinking of my end goal which is to leave a legacy of entrepreneurship strength and creativity.
10. Anything else you would like readers to know?
I started painting with a startup kit. That’s how my journey towards entrepreneurship began. Today I own my brand. I utilize my paintings to advocate for something special and meaningful. A brand is nothing short of an identity, and in this way, I have found my true self. A hopeful, cheerful, positive person who loves style and always doing soul searching. If we as a whole can start having conversations about mental health, then we are on the right track to becoming a more understanding, supportive and healthier society by eradicating stigma (while dressing the part.) That’s my goal, that’s my brand.
“Art is people. And in order to be relevant one must be inside a certain wave of time. Art is people and time.”
IG @artistcarotejada @hopethebluerobot @carohtbr
Online store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/CarosARTshop?ref=seller-platform-mcnav
By Gloria Romano-Barrera – 12/4/19