My Baby World
Cristina Cabello emigrated from Chile to the U.S. in 1978 with her husband and her two children. Because she did not speak a word of English, she spent her first few months learning the language while scouting garage sales for lightly-used baby and children's items for resale. She would then sell the items at flea markets and at local children's consignment stores. Today, Cristina Cabello owns three stores in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Understanding the value of education, Cristina enrolled in the California State University, East Bay Graduate Business Program. Having been in contact with so many consignment and baby stores as well as what she was learning in the business program, she and her husband decided to take a leap of faith and open their own store. However, they soon faced numerous challenges.
From the lack of contact with baby product distributors to not knowing how to approach them to become a retailer of their products, Cristina said she made many early mistakes.
"It was a difficult road at the beginning, but we solved it little by little," she said. "The business can become your entire life. It is much more than a full-time job and it can be exhausting."
Soon after starting her own business, Cristina learned how important it was to find the right bank and credits her banking relationship with California Bank & Trust as being crucial to the expansion of her company.
"We found that for a small business like ours, it was better to have a local bank," she said. "In the beginning we opened a business checking account with a big bank that never provided us any service."
Developing relationships with her bankers over the years has proven to be good for business.
"Having this special, dedicated attention has allowed us to make more informed decisions for our business," she said.
As an entrepreneur who has not only started one business, but also has expanded into multiple locations, Cristina says it is important for an entrepreneur to be organized. One of her key recommendations is having all your financial documents ready when applying for a bank loan.
Throughout her journey, Cristina's role model was and still is her husband, Aldo. She appreciates the tremendous help he has provided throughout the years from brainstorming ideas, reviewing business plans, and securing funding. He has been by her side since the early days of collecting children's clothes at garage sales to now running her own successful business.