Luciana Preguerman, YoSoy Marketplace
How/when did you get started?
We opened the YoSoy Space seven years ago. Back then the idea was to create a co-working community for small businesses, where we could all share a space to meet our customers, network, and grow our businesses on a collaborative environment. For years, we hosted a myriad of holistic companies and wellness events.
What is the mission and vision of the NEW marketplace?
Our mission is to create a trendy marketplace that fuels our local economy. The goal is to provide small local shops with retail, office space and a food service café, where the overhead of having a lease and the marketing efforts are shared for everyone's benefit.
In what way(s) has the City supported your efforts?
The Hallandale Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (HBCR) has been a key partner in our expanding plans. They have grants to support small businesses in the area for expansion and renovations, as well as for new businesses to come to the area of Hallandale Beach.
How are you helping shape the future of your City or Neighborhood?
YoSoy Marketplace is a cluster of small local businesses, which are the backbone of the community. By working together under one roof and a shared goal of prosperity, we create a magnetic field for customers looking into our local crafty businesses. That synergy and collaboration is vital in today's new environment.
Photo: Expansion plans for 2021
How are you attracting vendors to your marketplace?
While some small businesses are looking to scale down due to COVID, others are looking to expand or diversify their offering. We have options for both, larger and small operations. Usually, new vendors come through 'word of mouth' and referrals, or through social media. Many aspiring business owners contact me directly because they drive by.
To what do you attribute your success ‘till today?
I believe that small businesses really need a space to conduct business while keeping a lower overhead, and this model is attractive for them to grow. I also believe that the key to running your organization is Patience, lol! Managing and scaling a co-working space is very rewarding but sometimes is not easy to balance, especially since the pandemic.
What has been your biggest challenge during COVID, and how have you dealt with it or overcome it.
The pandemic has really impacted small shops. Luckily we've been able to act quickly and adapt to local guidelines and ordinances. But the limitations have been challenging. Many vendors came in looking to continue their businesses when their place of business closed down due to COVID-19, for example, many who came from the local farmers markets. YoSoy was able to accommodate some of the needs of these local businesses.
Based on your experience, what is your best advice on sales and marketing?
Marketing is essential to businesses. My advice is to be consistent and work with a great marketing agency like DreamCatcher, lol, when you cannot do it all. Having an online presence has become extremely important to grow and maintain a successful business.
Any future plans that you wish to share?
The future is here! We're eager to start working on our new expansion which will bring three new food businesses to Hallandale Beach, as well as the beautification of the area with a stunning outdoors eating area.
Anything you want to tell other founders and leaders about your brand?
Believe in your ideas. Do not get disappointed at any setbacks-- they can only make you better! Keep going at it and never give up on your dream!