Today we’d like to introduce you to Ana Estrada.
Hi Ana, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
Here is the thing about entrepreneurs, it truly is something you are born with, you begin your business moves at an extremely young age. Now being 31, I realize that the hustle came to me as early as six years old. I decided to use my “Domingo” (Sunday Allowances in Spanish) to buy toilet paper for our household of seven.
I waited for all of the toilet paper to be completely out, asked my mom to not purchase toilet paper as I would be buying it for the household. Once I stocked up on my product, I sat outside the bathroom, took the toilet paper squares apart, and was ready to launch my toilet paper business. Who would of known that years later toilet paper would have been the business to be in? And yes, you read that right, I lived in a household of seven. Mom, dad, one older sister, and three older brothers. Based on that info, if you are wondering if I am Mexican, you guessed correctly. There were certainly financial struggles that our household faced as anyone can imagine in a household of seven living in Los Angeles. My parents worked very hard to provide for my siblings and I. Their hard work and dedication became my motivation to achieve more in life.
At a very young age, I began to accompany my mother to her housekeeping gigs on the weekends or when there was no school. We would wake up as early as five a.m. at times to make sure to avoid the L.A. traffic. My mother didn’t drive, so our method of transportation was the bus. We would take the bus from the San Fernando Valley to Pacific Palisades. As my mother cooked or cleaned, I tried to help by playing with the kids and keeping them entertained. Even though I was only a child, I was able to value her work ethic. She is the reason why I have given my absolute best to every company I have ever worked for and also now the reason why I named my jewelry line after her. My entrepreneurship really was put into practice and kicked off when I joined Beach Financial Group, an independent insurance agency located in El Segundo in 2014. They were just starting up and I was hired as an office manager. I began to manage the agency but quickly realized the potential it had to expand and grow. I decided to developed different departments that would handle different avenues of insurance lines, worked on setting up social media accounts for the agency, and daily worked on marketing concepts to get more business and exposure.
Before we knew it, Beach Financial Group was licensed in all 50 states of the U.S. and had physical offices in El Segundo, Hollywood, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, and Park City. I look back and I’m incredibly grateful that the President of Beach Financial Group, Adam Beach allowed me to be a part of this venture and trusted my ideas and visions for the agency. Joining the insurance industry in 2014, I realized that it was a very male-dominated industry. I was a part of so many meetings and even conferences where in some instances, I was the only female. I am gradually starting to see more and more women in the insurance industry and this certainly is incredibly exciting! I faced a lot of business challenges where at times, I felt that I could not turn to anyone as I was in charge of always having all of the answers and solutions. This feeling led me to my next entrepreneur venture, LBCFP (Long Beach Female Professionals.) In October of 2019, I moved to Downtown Long Beach and knew it was the perfect city to set up a group for female professionals to come together to network, help each other grow, and play harder! I decided to launch its first networking event in January 2020 and it went better than I ever expected. I was able to have a total of 3 networking events before the pandemic hit.
For now, I had to put this group on hold. However, I am actively working on new ideas and have many dreams for LBCFP. I am confident that it will help females learn, grow, and be the best version of themselves. When women get together and play with each other’s tools, the unthinkable and impossible can happen. I am now 11 months into the pandemic, I had to put LBCFP on hold, however, I am now the Director of Operations at Beach Financial Group and have started a jewelry business named after the woman that is the most beautiful jewel in my life, my mother. I have to say that balancing between insurance and LEZR Jewelry can get complicated. They have both challenged me in very different manners, but they are pushing me to grow and evolve consistently. I am conscious that I was put into this world and given this life for a reason. I understand that there is a purpose I must fulfill. Reminding myself of this every morning is my fuel to get up and do it.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The road has definitely not been smooth at all. I’ve had to deal with many struggles along the way with both insurance and now the jewelry business. On the insurance side of things, losing large and even small accounts can really take a toll in the business as a whole. The emotional aspect is hard as it strikes your ego, and for the business side of things, losing any account means re-shuffling the agency. Thankfully, this doesn’t happen on a regular basis, but it is one thing that you need to prepare for. On the jewelry side, when I launched the first collection, it was a complete loss. I underpriced my jewelry, shipping, packaging materials, and ended up making zero profit and unfortunately lost money. I quickly figured this out and calculated everything to the cent. I didn’t lose faith, I believed in my line, followed my north star, and thankfully it is now a profitable business. Struggles are a necessity in any business. I don’t know anyone that has gotten it right the first time. Good things take time, many mistakes, and many struggles.
As you know, we’re big fans of LEZR jewelry. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
LEZR Jewelry is a brand that was created with the intention of bringing jewelry pieces that added a nice touch of sophistication to any outfit without breaking your bank. We specialize in high-quality & durable gold jewelry items that are reasonably priced. What truly sets us apart from other brands is that all of our pieces are hand-selected and we ensure that they complement each other. You can buy three bracelets, a set of earrings, two rings, throw it all together and it will look perfect with any outfit. What I am most proud of my brand is seeing female entrepreneurs and even some famous people rock it from day to night! It gives me an enormous satisfaction to see that I added a little touch in someone else’s outfit and day. LEZR jewelry was created for the woman that has that busy schedule but needs jewelry that will be thrown on in the morning and be perfect for all of their outings throughout the day. Work, meetings, lunches, happy hours and dinners. Wearing LEZR jewelry will take you to a new level of confidence.
Where we are in life is often partly because of others. Who/what else deserves credit for how your story turned out?
My older sister Edith Adriana is my biggest cheerleader. She pushes me, makes me believe in myself and in my ideas when I am in doubt. I have reached moments in my life where I have felt like a puzzle box thrown on the floor with all the pieces to put together. My sister has been there each and every single time, ready to put that puzzle together, no matter what time of the day and night. I love her, I admire her, and I thank her every single day for being my #1 supporter and cheerleader. In addition, of course, my father who worked extremely hard to provide for his family. I have found myself in hardships that have required phone calls or sit downs with my father, and at the end of each conversation his final words have always been, “y echale ganas”, which means multiple things for me, “and give it your all”, or “and put some feeling into it”. He has always been there to reassure and encourage me. I won’t lie, I am still very fearful of my sit downs with him. He is a very straightforward man and says it like it is. There is no sugar coating with him. But, because of this, I know exactly where and how to improve to be a better version of myself in the many and different aspects of life.
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: www.etsy.com/shop/lezrjewelry
- Instagram: lezrjewelry