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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A women-led business is connecting Latinas in the Kansas City metro through its apparel and home goods line. 

If you’ve gone to a festival or community event in the metro, you may have seen these t-shirts that say “KC Latina” or “No soy tu chacha” being sold. 

They were created by four local women who started the business called paraMi, meaning “for me.” 

The women started the business during the COVID-19 pandemic. Veronica Alvidrez, CEO and co-founder, said they got the idea to start this business because they felt isolated and wanted a way to connect with the Latino community. 

“It was really out of this kind of shared experience of — we were frustrated, we felt like we were losing our voice, and we also needed a way to express ourselves,” Alvidrez said.  

Their first product was a mug that said, “No soy tu chacha,” which means “I’m not your maid.”

“So we were trying to set forth that that attitude of, ‘Hey, you know, you can clean your own plates, you can pick up after yourself. That shouldn’t be expected of me,'” Alvidrez said.  

Since the business launched, they’ve added t-shirts for men, hats, totes and mugs.  

Silvia Marin, one of the business’ co-founders, said their products are about instilling pride for the Hispanic community. She said the shirt that states, “I’m not your maid,” challenges the stigmas and perceptions Latina women face. 

“We knew what we wanted was to get our voice out there and feel represented in the Midwest because there’s not a lot of representation for Latina or Hispanic culture for that matter,” Marin said, “and also, to help break the gender roles, the gender barriers of what is expected from a Latina and from our culture that we can do more.” 

“We see that stigma still playing out today, you know,” Alvidrez said. “So during the day, my 9-to-5, I’m an educator, and I get to spend a lot of time with young people and young Latinas, and I’m still hearing the same message that we heard of ‘graduate high school, get married, have children,’ you know? So the demands are high, but the expectations are still very low.” 

The creative phrases have also become talking points for paraMi’s live-streamed discussions on Instagram. 

“There are a lot of women we encounter with big dreams,” Alvidrez said. “It’s just equipping them with the confidence they need, but also the resources. We’ve accidentally, in a way, become a resource hub for a lot of other women who need to get connected or want to get connected to further their own business.” 

At the end of the day, both Alvidrez and Marin said it’s been an amazing experience to inspire and build confidence in Latina women in the metro.  

“Maybe life has constantly told her no or this is in your lane, but really we’re in the in the world right now where you can create your own lane,” Alvidrez said. “So if she’s out there watching, I would say go for it.” 

“We want to be out here to inspire others,” Marin said. “You can absolutely do it, you can be a mom, and you can be an entrepreneur, and you can do all these things. And we want to give you that push.”

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