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San Antonio Dream Makers: From Paper to Profit!

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It was an evening of inspiration and a testament to the statement, dreams do come true. This week we joined FGI San Antonio and their prestigious panel made up of some of San Antonio’s finest. Moderated by Xitlalt Herrera-Salazar, Regional Director of FGI San Antonio and Public Relations Manager of Neiman Marcus, guest were treated to the story of each panelist full of insider tips based on experiences they’ve witnessed within their journey to success.

Andrea Rodriguez of Chalet Beauty, a natural, eco-friendly, and cruelty free cosmetic and skin care line, returned to San Antonio to follow in her grandmother and mothers footsteps to ensure the continued growth of the beauty line. 

Andrea’s words of wisdom on success:

Know your strengths and weakness and start small while really knowing what you want to do. Keep your focus as it’s easy to get distracted. Count every single win as it’s building blocks every single day. Find a support group and just keep going and always, always plan for growth.

After being asked if there was a role model who inspired her Andrea answered stating it was her grandmother who recently passed away. “She was a trailblazer entrepreneur. She’d give makeovers and provide one on one time to women that would give them confidence.” This inspired Andrea to want to help people in her own way.


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Lisa Weller, owner of Twirl Salon, gained a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition from Texas A&M, however, fashion has always been a hobby for her and beauty is always the accessory. After working in NYC Lisa returned to San Antonio in pursuit of a fashion centric hair salon that would allow her to help make women beautiful inside and out. Working throughout the city and not finding the perfect fit she decided to build a salon herself; fast-forward 10 years later Twirl Salon is celebrating their long lasting success.

Lisa’s word of wisdom on success:

Be fearless. (she wears a bracelet with the word on it to serve as a reminder that it’s all going to be okay.) “Be behind the chair first. The second job is managing everyone else.” Recognize when you need help. Lisa needed help so she searched for those that brought value and mentored them by teaching them everything she knows. Start small, invest your own money because when investors get involve it’s not really your business anymore. Never give up on your dreams. Have passion, dedication and remember the best ideas are born of personal need.

After being asked what is next after already accomplishing so much Lisa has her sights set on owning a building. “It’s a big dream. A big goal for the future.”

Elsa Fernandez is owner of Eye Candy Boutique, San Antonio’s first pop-up shop to sign a permanent lease. With over 40 fashion segments done and after winning San Antonio Fashion Awards, Retailer of the Year two times in a row it’s apparent that Elsa has this fashion business down. After 10 years in retail Elsa identified a gap and choose to work harder for herself and fill the gap in plus size fashion before anyone else did.

Elsa’s words of wisdom for success:

Think outside of the box. She was denied twice for loans and decided to think outside the box and found Cody Shone of OPEN. Make sure you’re never comfortable. Push yourself. If you’re not doing things that scare you, you’re not growing. Challenge your business and scare yourself. Never ask someone to do something that you wouldn’t be willing to do yourself and stick to your guns. Listen to your inside voice because everyone will have an opinion. In the end you represent yourself and your brand.

After being asked what is next after already accomplishing so much Elsa stated she’d like to have multiple locations once she’s able to loosen the reigns on her downtown flagship.

Anthony Ryan Auld , a Louisiana State graduate and Project Runway All-Star received his big break when winning Best in Show with FGI Dallas and winning a 20k dollar scholarship. With 20 years of retail experience and experience in graphic design Anthony now has 2 boutiques in San Antonio, The ANTHILL and Couleur Blindè. He loves the one on one time and the opportunity to teach women what fashion can do because “what you put on can convey so many things”.

Anthony’s words of wisdom for success:

You will never get over the fear of owning a business so know your own strengths and weaknesses and ask for help. Take whatever you have for a business plan and cut it in half. Identify your worst case scenario and realize it’s probably half of that.

Anthony is a two time cancer survivor and was first diagnosed in college. Refusing to give up on school he pushed through and continued while completing chemotherapy. During this time was when he felt the most positive energy and it stuck with him. Now, he just wants to give it back through fashion

After being asked what is next after already accomplishing so much Anthony stated he hopes to one day have 3 boutiques, one in San Antonio, Austin, and Dallas.


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Moderator Xitlalt Herrera-Salazar reminded all guest, “There are several grants out there for entrepreneurs and the San Antonio City Library has a good resource to get business owners started with their business plan, LaunchSA.”

After listening to all the panelist speak the message was clear as Lisa Weller stated, “ have passion and dedication”. The end goal for all four was also the same, they all felt a desire to help others and make others beautiful inside and out. The event closed out with a final thought from Xitlalt, “ Neiman Marcus started with 25k dollars and a bad business investment. Look at them now. One day, 100 years later, we hope someone will say that about you and your business.”


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