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Conversations with Belen De la Cruz

Today we’d like to introduce you to Belen De la Cruz. 

Hi Belen, so excited to have you on the platform. So, before we get into questions about your work life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today.
A few years ago, I decided it was about time to start my own business. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do. I always loved food and design. I worked in marketing for may years but going back to corporate life was not an option. Living in Atlanta with my husband and 3 kids pushed me to cook healthier to avoid preservatives. And I was always receiving compliments about my food. One day a friend asked me to give her a cooking class. I thought it was crazy. I am not a professional chef… she insisted, and I finally did it. And I felt so comfort that I decided to offer empanadas wine night class. I shared the information with school moms and in weeks I was super busy giving classes. Small, private, and big groups. After 2 years of giving classes, the wuesrwas always the same one. Where could we buy the empanadas? There was no Argentinean place in Atlanta. My brother heard that, and he said – we need to open a bakery! We rented a space in July 2019 and without any experience we built a kitchen. Got our permits and open our door on February 2020. Now we have 3 locations, and we are wholesale for 5 other stores 

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Is never smooth to be a small business owner and beyond that we opened during pandemic. We didn’t have the experience, so we were learning to run the business while we were trying to understand how to manage thr covid impact in the world… despite that we were offering a product that not everyone knew… so, no… it wasn’t smooth. But we have an amazing community that hold us and supported us since day one! 

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
We specialize in Argentinian products. Empanadas and desserts 

Our empanadas are baked not fried and that’s a big difference comparing with other empanadas. As well as the dough, ours are made with flour. Fillings and seasoning too. 

Our desserts are made most of them with dulce de leche we bring from Argentina. So, we really offer legit Argentinean flavors! 

We’d be interested to hear your thoughts on luck and what role, if any, you feel it’s played for you.
I am a very passionate and positive person. So, I believe I push luck many times to work on my side. And if something doesn’t go my way I think is just because there is something else waiting for me… I don’t relate everything with good or back luck. Having said that. I heard many customers telling me… oh my god such bad luck on timing opening right before pandemia. For me was not bad luck was an opp. Pandemia gave the time and space to teach more about my products. Customers had more time, and they were open to help… 

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