We were asked by Prospera Usa to share our experience as Business Owners during times of a Pandemic. Prospera is an Organization that helps start, sustain, and grow Hispanic-owned businesses to achieve community prosperity.
Please read below for the story they wrote:
"Every year, for their children’s birthday parties, Jelis Ruvolo and her husband Paulo poured their creativity into developing custom designs and themes for their decorations. With each event topping the last, word of Ruvolo’s talent spread and the demand for custom event decorations and designs grew.
In 2006, upon completing her bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design in Venezuela, Ruvolo and her husband moved to the United States. Ruvolo’s career began in the corporate world, but she soon realized that although she enjoyed the design and creative aspects of her work, it wasn’t fulfilling. Looking to fill the void, Ruvolo found a niche market for high quality, fully customizable and trendy party supplies, spiking the idea of a new business venture—ICONICA Design. Ruvolo founded ICONICA Design in 2013, led by an unwavering desire to create unforgettable moments.
What started as an Etsy page selling custom event decorations and gifts for any occasion, soon evolved into much more. As business thrived, the Ruvolos sought to structure their company and gain better control of their finances. They were able to secure a grant for a business plan from Prospera, which proved crucial for the company’s growth and development.
“Prospera’s grant not only helped us organize and structure our business and finances, but also connected us with partners who have been invaluable to our growth,” said Ruvolo.
As a result, ICONICA Design created strategic alliances with local printing shops to offer fully printed and mounted products, and was able to hire freelance graphic designers to keep pace with the workload. However, with the onset of COVID-19, events were indefinitely put on standby and ICONICA Design’s demand and revenue stream essentially came to a halt.
In May 2020, ICONICA Design turned to Prospera for a marketing grant to help them navigate the new normal. Although sales plummeted in the first few months, Ruvolo used the extra time to develop strategies to pivot their services and adapt to the new demand. In Fall 2020, they introduced a line of custom labels for products such as hand sanitizers and masks,
as well as new designs for sympathy cards and memorials. ICONICA Design built their website to sell directly to consumers with lower overhead and invested in advertising through various platforms.
When asked about her journey through the pandemic, Ruvolo said, “Entrepreneurship is a constant learning process where you have to learn how to adapt to trends and changes in the market; the pandemic was no different. Luckily, we were able to use this time to learn new skills and improve techniques, so we could become better versions