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The UPS Store Small Business Blog
  • 02 October 2023
  • Public Relations

A Proudly Unstoppable Collaboration Celebrating Hispanic-Owned Businesses

Hispanic Heritage Month is a celebration of the rich cultural contributions and achievements of Latino communities. It is observed from September 15th to October 15th each year, highlighting the diverse heritage, traditions and history of people with roots in Latin American countries.


During this month-long celebration, we recognize the significant influence and impact that Hispanic-owned businesses have on our society. It's a time to honor the hard work and entrepreneurial spirit of Hispanic business owners and entrepreneurs who have made remarkable contributions to various industries.

By shedding light on their stories and accomplishments, we aim to promote inclusivity, diversity and unity within our business communities. Hispanic Heritage Month allows us to appreciate the immense talent, creativity and innovation that emerges from within the vibrant Latin community.

One Hispanic business owner we want to recognize is Mar Figueroa, a phenomenal Hispanic entrepreneur who deserves recognition for her incredible contributions. Hailing from Ecuador and now based in New York, Mar is an artist who skillfully captures the essence of Andean culture through her captivating paintings.

With a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the esteemed Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), she quickly launched her own art and design studio after graduation.

Her talent and hard work did not go unnoticed, Forbes recognized her achievements and named her one of their prestigious "30 Under 30" in Art & Style in 2020. This honor showcases her dedication to forging her own path in contemporary art.

Mar's work serves as a powerful vehicle for uplifting Indigenous identity within the Latin American diaspora and the beauty and vibrancy of Latin American countries. Through her art, she brings attention to the rich heritage and diverse voices within the Latinx community. We sat down with Mar to ask her about her work, her experience as a small business owner and what makes her unstoppable.

Inspiration and Influences for Creative, Cultural Artwork

The power of culture and community fuels inspiration for artists and entrepreneurs. This is particularly evident in the case of Hispanic entrepreneurs who strive for their own success and also make a conscious effort to uplift and contribute to the growth of the communities they belong to.

For Mar Figueroa, her culture and heritage have influenced everything in her art and life.

What inspired you to become an artist?

I can’t remember a time when I was not an artist. In some ways, art is my first language and the one I feel most fluent communicating in.

 Who are some of your biggest influences?

I look up to so many, but Mexican artist Diego Rivera, Cuban artist Belkis Ayon and Andean folk art have had a profound effect on me.

How has your heritage inspired your creativity?

My understanding of my own cultural identity developed symbiotically with my creative practice as an Ecuadorian immigrant in the U.S. documenting and paying homage to my Andean roots inspires my artwork and my creative practice deepens my bond to it.

How does your style, and the style of “La Montaña,” reflect your heritage and culture?

I don’t believe I have a style—I’m in motion and always evolving. I allow my artwork's theme or subject to guide the creative process. In “La Montaña,” I was working with a theme of empowerment and I allowed that feeling to guide the perspective, form, celestial palette and more. Latin American heritage is a difficult task to encompass in one image because it is a vast community, but I felt our folk craftsmanship is present throughout all communities, especially textile and jewelry. Adorning “La Montaña” is an homage to all that.

“La Montaña” is the mountain in Spanish and the name of the artwork's heroine. She stands at a colossal scale and is an embodiment of the awe-inspiring aspirations, entrepreneurship and a workforce that is connected to the Latin American community. I hope that when people experience this campaign they feel celebrated for their journey or inspired to take the first step. Metaphorically, we’re all on a journey to our mountain summit, and this piece is celebrating all that. She’s saying—”I see what you’re doing and I celebrate you.”

Seeing Success and Building a Creative Process as a BIPOC Entrepreneur and Artist

Developing a creative process that aligns with personal values and cultural heritage can empower Hispanic artists and entrepreneurs like Mar. That is because drawing inspiration from traditions and customs specific to their country of origin or embracing the diversity within the Hispanic culture allows for an authentic expression of creativity. We delved deeper into Mar's creative process and how it's impacted her journey.

What has been your greatest achievement thus far?

I’m proud of my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). RISD is one of the nation’s top art schools and I dreamed of attending since I was thirteen. I’m a first-generation college graduate and it was not an easy journey getting to and staying in college. During my four years there, I was a full-time student and held a spectrum of jobs to get by, such as a teacher assistant, museum gift shop clerk, library staff, cleaning staff, etc.

I’m proud of everything I did to accomplish that dream.

Could you describe your creative process from conception to completion?

My process is scattered. An idea can float around for a while before it solidifies into something visual. I find fragments of inspiration through research, sketches, palettes and, eventually, they all come together to form an image. In the commissions, I’ll propose several ideas, and when I get a green light from my art director I render out my sketch to completion.

Understanding, Appreciating and Supporting Hispanic-Owned Businesses

In order to effectively support Hispanic-owned businesses and artists, it is essential to cultivate a deep understanding of their experiences, needs and aspirations. As a Hispanic business owner and artist, Mar shares how "La Montaña" was inspired by her community and how we all can better understand and support Hispanic entrepreneurs.

What does your piece “La Montaña” stand for and what message do you hope it delivers? How does this piece communicate the theme of being “unstoppable”?

There is a beautiful word in Spanish that our Caribbean cousins have shared with the rest of the continent—“Pa'lante.” It is a Spanish contraction of “ adelante” (straight ahead). It means onward in the face of adversity. I’m here to win.

What would you like the world to know about Latin American art, heritage and culture?

I think a misconception about contemporary Latin American art is that it only addresses themes of immigration and struggle. Social justice is important work and the artists that make work about it are my heroes, but I also want people to know that we are a vast and diverse community and we work with all types of subjects. I want art directors to know you can collaborate with person-of-color (POC) artists on all types of projects, not only ones about tough subject matters. We like to take on light-hearted projects too.

That’s a big question. In my personal artwork, I make the art I want to make regardless of where it fits or its reception. My goal in the studio is to tap into the day's creative reservoir. My expression is not tethered to expectation. I don’t feel contemporary BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people-of-color) artists have to redefine historical narratives. Our work can also be discussed on its own merits and craft.

How do you see art as a tool for cross-cultural dialogue and understanding?

Art is a universal language that can foster inclusion.

How can people support Latin American artists like yourself?

Purchase or hire Latin American artists. If you’re not in a position to do so, help share our work. It means a lot to us.

Advice and Partnerships for Other Artists and Entrepreneurs

Mar Figueroa's journey as an artist and entrepreneur is truly inspiring. She has expressed her creativity through art and also uplifted her community by showcasing her culture. That's why we've asked her to share her insights to help inspire other artists and business owners in their own journeys.

What tips would you give to aspiring artists?

I feel, above any technical tip I can impart, the most helpful tip I can share is “Pa'lante” (onward). Find those encouraging words and allow them to be a mantra in your life. Let your mantra motivate you in your highs and keep you company in your lows. My friend and I are constantly exchanging “Dale.” Dale is one of the most utilitarian words in the Spanish language and translates to “go ahead,” “go for it” and “do it.”

What makes you proud to work with a partner like UPS?

I’m proud to collaborate with UPS because of its proactiveness in creating space for BIPOC entrepreneurs.

Honor and Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and Hispanic-owned businesses

The celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month is not only an opportunity to honor the rich cultural contributions of the Hispanic community but also to highlight and support the growth of Hispanic-owned businesses. These businesses play a vital role in our economy, driving job creation, fostering innovation and contributing to overall economic growth.

It is essential for us to recognize and uplift the efforts made by Hispanic business owners in building successful enterprises. By supporting these businesses, we not only provide economic opportunities for individuals and families but also help create a more diverse and vibrant entrepreneurial landscape.

Proudly Unstoppable is UPS’ commitment to championing underrepresented small business communities. Beyond Proudly Unstoppable, The UPS Store strives to make its own social impact by nurturing diverse partnerships and creating equitable opportunities

The UPS Store has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to diversity by actively supporting small business owners through its Diversity Ownership program. At its core, this program exemplifies its dedication to fostering an inclusive business environment. By providing opportunities for individuals from diverse backgrounds to fulfill their dream of owning their own businesses. The UPS Store empowers aspiring entrepreneurs and enriches the communities it serves. Learn more about the Diversity Ownership program.

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