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Meet Jen Kanter of Barrio.La & Barrio Partners in Mar Vista

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jen Kanter.

Barrio.La was founded in 2015 with the mission of supporting artists & “makers” via an e-commerce website – 100% dedicated to selling goods made in Los Angeles.

Our mission to support “Made in Los Angeles” naturally evolved over the years to reflect our commitment to female-owned, small businesses, along with non-profits & social enterprises committed to providing equitable opportunities to BIPOC & LBGQTI communities.

In addition, we’ve created a female, cooperative-minded marketing agency, barrio partners.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
We would be lying if we said it’s been a smooth road.

We started out with approximately 25+ years of corporate strategy & marketing television experience, yet that definitely wasn’t enough to prepare us for all of the things we hadn’t learned & needed to learn, too.

Arguably one of the hardest things small businesses face is determining what they should learn to do & tackle themselves vs. what is worth paying someone else to do. Since we only had the budget for a web developer, we had to learn how to do a long list of things including design our logo & set up our digital accounts,

In 2019, our agency faced our biggest challenge.

Should we continue working on what was initially a dream project- one that suddenly took a 180-degree twist? We knew we were being set up to fail; caught between internal conflicts, & lack of direction on a large scale, government project. In addition, our ethos was not translating from our original scope of work to the final project.

In the end, we knew that we would never be proud of our work, so we exited the project. Heartbreaking, yes, but we would make the same decision again.

Please tell us about Barrio. La & Barrio Partners.
Barrio.La curates gifts made by artists, non-profits & social enterprises in Los Angeles.

All gifts purchased give back to Hunger Action Los Angeles- a grassroots non-profit dedicated to eliminating food insecurities in Los Angeles.

Barrio Partners is a co-operatively led marketing agency. Our clients include educational institutions, government agencies, non-profits, small businesses & community organizations. We’re proud of our teaching approach, which shows people & organizations how to create & manage their branding & marketing strategies across digital platforms.

The support, both paid & pro bono, that both Barrio.La & Barrio Partners has provided to organizations addressing food inequity in Los Angeles is our favorite thing to talk about.

Since the pandemic hit, we have provided free support to Los Angeles area farmers’ markets & their non-profit operators. Our hope is that by providing them with marketing & communication tools during a really challenging time, they have been able to reach larger audiences, especially those in need.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
Lots of regrets, missteps & mistakes, yet we wouldn’t do anything differently because it’s all contributed to where we are now.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Photo of Jen taken by Anne Stericker. Photo of farmers’ market box taken by Lili Lathan. All other photos taken by Jen Kanter (

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