Often times we find our greatest inspiration when we are immersed in real-life experiences outside of the office. From an early morning hike in the great outdoors, to a weekend getaway with the family, inspiration tends to strike when we least expect it. For Griselda Quezada-Chavez, one of her greatest inspirations came while traveling to other countries and led her to launch her successful import/export business, Q&C Exim LLC.
During a trip through Latin America, Griselda found herself energized and inspired by the different cultures, flavors, crafts and handmade clothing. As a savvy businessperson, she also saw a business opportunity. So in 2006, she launched Q&C Exim (Q&C for “Quezada-Chavez”) with her husband to support the one-of-a-kind clothing and cultural crafts she so admired during her travels. From there, she expanded her business to include GuayaFina, a clothing line modeled after the traditional Latin shirt “Guayabera.” She also introduced World Boutique & Gallery, which sells handcrafted items from local artisans, cooperatives and non-profits from around the world via a virtual gallery.
Griselda has taken her passion for international business beyond Q&C Exim as a valued leader within NAWBO. A member of the Silicon Valley chapter since 2009, Griselda serves as the chapter’s International Affairs Director and as the National International Ambassador. Through her work with NAWBO, Griselda helps other members take advantage of international travel opportunities to expand and strengthen their businesses. For example, this year NAWBO is offering opportunities to explore Monaco, Tokyo and Italy.
For those who may not think they need to take a global approach to their business, Griselda challenges you to rethink that approach. “There are so many benefits to taking advantage of international opportunities,” she says. “Choose a country that you’ve wanted to visit. For me, it made sense to do business in Mexico because I have family there. Thanks to NAWBO, my world has expanded remarkably. I’ve seen so many places I can export to.”
Looking ahead, Griselda plans to continue to travel with NAWBO to grow her own business and help support other small business owners around the world. “I’m very passionate about international business. I love connecting people who are in different countries that have a need, service or product. There’s so many opportunities around us, it’s just a matter of being open to the possibilities,” she says.
For more information about Q&C Exim, please visit www.qcexim.com.
What is the best piece of advice that you would give to another small business owner about taking advantage of international opportunities?
“Don’t think about it, just do it. Set it up right, get good advice and DO it. For me, if I had thought too hard about starting an international business, it could have been scary. But in reality, the world isn’t that big. When you’re part of an organization like NAWBO that has already opened international lines of communication, you can find affiliates in many countries. I encourage our NAWBO members to just do it. You have NAWBO there to help.”
What should members do if they are interested in getting involved in international business with NAWBO?
“I encourage folks to call me. I’ll be more than happy to talk with anyone who wants more information. I also know that NAWBO is looking to grow an international department and we are looking for women who are interested in forming a committee. I’d love to connect with anyone doing international business and see how NAWBO could explore new opportunities.”