How Canticos Creator Susie Jaramillo Built an Inclusive Kids' Brand

Latina to Latina


Had a meal knows how to build a brand for years. She led one of the top multicultural creative agencies in the US then she decided to apply that expertise for brand of her own encompass a media company that designs develops and distributes animated films books and Apps Today Day. I'm in Suzy's home in Brooklyn hoping to absorb her wisdom on branding pivoting mid-career instinct focused on the purpose. That drives her business suzie. I was planning on starting this interview by telling you that because I know interview new. I've been singing this by ethos and we're seeing that in my home all the time of But Wow I am with you on a big day for you. Yeah it's it's a very exciting day. Two two million dollars raised in an oversubscribed seed round. Yeah it's very exciting. That's got to feel good. It the imprinting is really shows how people really get the opportunity. It shows how you know. The investment community really understands who need for content and for brands hands that appeal to diverse markets diverse kids to raise families. What was it like to walk into those rooms and make those pitches it it was? I'M NOT GONNA lie. It's a little intimidating because Because I don't come from finance I've never raise is money before I got to walk in with my partner. WHO's amazing and I have a fundamental belief that if you be true to yourself everything else will follow? It was my job in those rooms to tell the story. That's all I had to do by also really felt I walked into every single Thinking if this to be it will happen. If this is not meant to be it will not happen and and that is a wonderful way of like letting go of all of your fears. I've always believed that like fears for rich people right there with insecurity. Those are like luxuries. I can't really afford so I would just walk in like okay. This is what we're doing. This is what we're doing it. It makes complete sense to us if you would like to be a part of this in help purpose built. You are welcome if you have a if you really question this opportunity if you question this market if you don't believe in what we're doing we're probably not the right fit for you you you say. Your premise is simple when in reality what you're trying to do is very complicated Build beloved brands and tell authentic stories create content inspired by a world of culture US media and technology as a force for good. Those are not simple goals. Susie you know one at a time name I I like to say you can do everything just not at once not all at once and you put one foot in front of the other. If you're gonNA build a brand it might as well. Maybe a beloved brands that stands the test of time right. If you're going to build a brand it might as well have substance. It might as well have stories if you come from a diverse this culture you might as well tell your story You might as well elevate your community And if you're an artist if you're a creative I think you you do your best when you serve when you are true to your community when you're a true to your values and when you are to the message that you think needs needs to be told at a given point in time and I think right now it's really important that our stories be told the way we wanna tell them who you say you knew what was missing in the market. What was missing? Well it's kind of funny so I I came from the advertising space and I'm GonNa just do the setup I in on a regular basis. I pitched the the multiple markets the Latino opportunity. In how how how much How powerful this market was? Did you ever get to a point where you would say. They're the most brand loyal group American. Almost gag from the fact that you have us us my my frustration with his with the Latin communities that they don't demand more they don't demand more from their media companies more from the companies that they buy from their market. It gets taken for granted completely and that was the massive source of frustration for me. It's like sure they they watch these media outlets because they're the only ones that cater to them and didn't want to tell their stories and I was like I love these cultures. I lived these cultures and so I felt that okay. So here's a business opportunity. Now you know because on a regular basis. I'm pitching this business. Yeah I know that these These my most of my clients are not really going to do much because they can. I just want to do what's good enough And I was having babies and I was kind I'm done mentally done with. Advertising was okay this is. I'm not doing what I was supposed to do. I know that you have this little inside voice. It's the little voice that tells you you know. This would be a a really good idea. You could do this really well And I wasn't drawing. I'm an artist by trade. What I studied? That's what I'm best at and I was like like you know what there's a massive opportunity to do. Wonderful beautiful illustrated stories animated projects for in my my case in the Latin community. And I'm not going to do it here in the advertising agency let me at least in a low hanging fruit I mean where my board books that celebrate my Latin culture whereas Los dos elsewhere it whereas Valencia. And I was like if I don't do this someone else is GonNa do it. They're going to do it badly. And I'm going to be so I'm going to be so are a lot of people that have done about it. I mean wouldn't you. I've had the experience of going to buy Spanish language books for my child and I was not a lot on the shelf. A lot of what's on the shelf. Feels like it was an afterthought sims my husband's like did they run this through Google translate to like do they have an actual Spanish Naggar. Who wrote that's what what when you actually looked at the market? What wasn't there so most of what you would find in terms of board books were translations thousands of American nursery rhymes or translations of American classics important books? Eric Carlyle Dr Seuss in Spanish right. But you couldn't couldn't find the witty wonderful issue rhymes that actually come from that culture which also matters because those things are written to rhyme in a way that helps you learned and some basics of language doesn't work in transliteration exit also so so that was my talent right because I if we can sing twinkle twinkle star in Spanish why why can't the American markets signals produce in English. Why can't Arner three rhymes be American classics? We're a part of this tapestry. Now so part of my challenge as a kid who grew up. Dr Seuss was let me take all of these wonderful nursery rhymes and interpret them in English. And I want American kids to sing thing little. Ticky squeaky wheel feel you know what I mean and understand these nursery rhymes and seeing them in English and this this way the Spanish will be closer took the culture will be closer to them because part of our responsibility as cultural ambassadors is to bring the cultures closer together whether it be through language anguish whether through pre culture are. It doesn't matter like if I have a little American kid singing in English a little Latin. Could we'll get excited. They we know it right. Even though it's an English familiar to them anyways I just wanted to make it easier for everybody. So how did you start. I didn't know exactly what this would look like. I knew it would be a brand. I knew it would celebrate all these adorable little characters. Start starring Little Ticky Pretty cute right But I didn't know how I was GONNA do it. However it just made sense to start with board bucks and I wanted the board books to be reversible and lift the flap so for someone who doesn't have a child aboard book book is a Board Book is a thick heavy book that a kid will not tear easily critical thing understand? We're on it. I will survive you you wanted. It's like Xuan ability imports. And here's here's another part this is. This is a book that has very few words. So if you're an artist it's it's low hanging fruit. It's a book that relies heavier on art that it does than it does on on Written prose so you can do a board book with one nursery tree rhyme so I was like oh my gosh. This is a series. It's mother goose for the for the Latino community but it I personally find bilingual. Books oftentimes sometimes cumbersome because it's two languages that they throw at you at on the same page and it's it's it's cumbersome and I wanted to do this. In a different format I wanted reversible board books because because with reversible board books you can read it in in Spanish in one language and when the kid goes again again okay again. Let's written English so you get to read to the child one on language at a time and you instilled them in the love for languages with the repetition and then they're able to appreciate things like phonics and music and early literacy excuses skills one at a time so I wanted to explore that new format which I've never seen done with books here in the United States and and I had it in my head like I gotta do this gotTa do this but of course life takes over right ahead. At the time I had two little kids I had a four year old and a two and a half year old and the two and a half year old was starting pre pre K.. Like two days a week two and a half days a week in a little playgroup in a church basement and she. He did not want to go to her group and she was throwing all kinds of temper tantrums and being the sucker that I was I decide. Okay I will leave. I'll sit here for four hours or at least maybe half an hour until you let me go and I was in a church basement with there was no internet so I couldn't read the news on my phone. Which is normally what I would have done so I grab some construction paper? And I started mapping out my little stickies book the first book that we did and when I saw how the format actually really worked and how I could lift the flap into peel and how I could make the create a wheel and make the the hen run to go get the the corn. I got really excited and that was just the START I hey. I had a fully illustrated book two weeks later because I got so excited. I just immediately start drawing illustrated and then after that I just started the next book. Okay now I'm GonNa do elephants now because one think I knew from my time as a creative is that you can talk all day long. But if you don't show people something they cannot imagine at the battles of so you know if you and if you can't do the due diligence of believing in yourself and fleshing out your idea yourself will then it's not their responsibility to like project act a made up vision of what you could do into the air so it is important that you just do it that you just you know you know. It's funny because oftentimes people will tell me. Well how did did you find the time to do it and Blah Blah and. I just think it's important to know that you will never find the time nobody ever finds time. You make the time if you really want to do something thank you just do it and everything else has followed since

Coming up next