We had the good fortune of connecting with Erika Hurtado and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Erika, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I have a degree in marketing but design has always been in my heart. I have an ability to make pretty things, from a design for work, to decorating a room or an event, but I went for stationery because I’ve loved paper since I can remember. I’ve always been that girl who makes all kinds of paper crafts, so I started doing invitations and day-of pieces for kids parties, but one day a wedding planner friend asked me to make the wedding invitations for a client and I totally feel in love with the process. Somehow I started having more and more requests so I took the chance and created my stationery studio. Also, being my own boss was a very important thing for me, first because I always hated being an employee! haha, mostly because of flexibility. I hated having to count my days off and having to ask for permission when felt like spending them. And second because I always knew that when the day came, I wanted to be able to enjoy my kids and be in their lives as much as possible. My business gives me both things, now that I’m a new mom, I can organize my time so I can enjoy my baby and work in something I love. A wedding is a very important moment in the life of a Bride and Groom, so I love being able to witness every couple’s excitement for their big day, and put in paper those feelings so they can share them with their families.
What should our readers know about your business?
It hasn’t been easy at all. I think the first obstacle to overcome is the thought that most people have about starting a business, specially a stationery business. My parents always supported me but they were worried at first, mainly because I started selling in Tijuana where there are a lot of people doing the same thing at very low prices, so this didn’t look as a very profitable business, but I also always knew that my goal was to go higher, I always wanted to make things different and be a brand, and not just “the girl who makes invitations”. The other challenging obstacle to beat was the fact that I started to sell internationally being a Mexican. Living the border life between Tijuana-San Diego has many opportunities but non of them are easy for sure. I had to research about the do’s and don’ts of crossing the border for business, paying taxes in the US as a Mexican, and lots of legal stuff to not put my visa in risk. I still have lots of plans for my business but I’m really proud of where I am today. Most of the time I just do my job and feel like is normal, but when I think about it, in the last 5 years I’ve worked with over 3000 clients around the world, including a couple of big brands and some celebrities I never imagined working with, and that’s huge! Other thing that makes me feel proud is that my work is recognized. I’m often asked if a design is mine because they recognized my style. I’m a helpless perfectionist which can be a nightmare sometimes, but I really put attention to every single detail of my work, from design to production, even the packaging where I deliver, and I feel so happy when clients acknowledge that and tell me that this was why they chose me.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well, my hubby and I are always welcoming friends and family so we now have like our own little tour haha. We love a good day outside, so we love taking them to Seaport Village because we can spend the whole day there, we walk for a while, visit the shops, and either eat at the dinning area, or grab some food and head over to the park to enjoy the view. A picnic at Balboa Park park with an In-N-Out burger or Buffalo Wild winds take out is nice too. We love the beach so we take them to the Santa Monica Pier, Coronado Beach, Pacific Beach, or Belmont Park, all of them if possible. Phil’s bbq and Little Italy are a must. Fashion Valley if they want to go shopping. I’m a helpless Disney lover so I always want to go but that depends if the visit wants to haha. And not in San Diego but we love going to Valle de Guadalupe in Ensenada, you have to go if you have the chance, it’s just a 40min drive and you’ll spend a lovely day with a mix of amazing food, lovely views, and great people.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My family and friends for sure. I would never have been able to be where I am without them. My mom and brother had always helped me with production and all kinds of tasks, now my brother became the right-hand in my business. My dad lent me the money to first start my business and in cases of emergency, he helps with production too. My hubby, he’s very bad at crafts so he doesn’t help much in that area haha, but he’s always there for me, from investing in my business, to staying up with me so many late nights when I have lots of work to get done, and driving so fast to get to the post office before they close, well, that last one has happened to everyone in my house at least once LOL. Now that I became a mom, I feel more grateful than ever to have them in my life because they are helping me accomplish being a mom and a business owner at the same time.
Cecilia Martin del Campo