Young Entrepreneurs attribute success to soccer
By Sandra T. Molina Staff Writer
Posted: 05/11/2010 04:14:28 PM PDT
WEST COVINA - Cynthia Gurrola and Lisa Araujo had the athletic touch on the field as soccer players in high school and college.
Now as businesswomen, the two have the "creative" touch.
The young women are the founders and co-owners of Creative Touch Communications, a small marketing and public relations company.
The business, which is run for now out of an office in Gurrola's West Covina home, has a number of clients in the San Gabriel Valley and Whittier area.
Gurrola, 24, started doing public relations on a small scale in 2007.
But when she wanted to attain a higher level, she joined forces with Araujo, 26, of Rancho Cucamonga, and whom she had met briefly while both attended Cal Poly Pomona.
"I have always been an overachiever," Gurrola said. "And I wanted more than writing press releases here and there."
It was not until 2006 when their paths crossed again while both held coaching positions in a Diamond Bar competitive soccer club.
Araujo had been the captain of the Cal Poly women's soccer team and Gurrola was a standout at Walnut High School before blowing out her knee.
The former athletes, who are currently coaching two girls teams for the Claremont Stars Soccer Club, said the dedication and work they displayed on the soccer field has transferred to Creative Touch.
"I was the captain at Cal Poly," Araujo said, "where I had to balance being a leader on the field while excelling in the classroom. It's about multi-tasking."
For Gurrola, the 10- to 12-hour workdays are an extension of the long hours she put in as a student, coach and staff writer at a Walnut-based weekly newspaper.
"There's no complaining here," she said. "We're always going and we love it."
The hard work has paid off.
Their client base has grown from a few to more than 25 in the last year.
One of their clients, Dolores Canning Company, Inc. has been pleased with the service Creative Touch has provided to the family-owned company.
"They are a great team, very hard-working," said Dolores Canning co-owner David Munoz, 42, of San Gabriel.
"We couldn't be happier with the way they've represented our company," he said of the family-owned business, which produces specialty Mexican food products
"We strive to make each client feel as important as the next, and that has been proven by the number of new word-of-mouth clients," Araujo said.
But the current success hasn't been easy.
There were slow days.
They lost Gurrola's biggest account due to financial cut backs.
However, once things picked up they haven't looked back or wanted to.
Being young and female proved to be a weakness as well as a strength.
They've come across a small share of people who doubted their potential because of their age and/or gender.
There were also those who thought they could take advantage of the young entrepreneurs.
Araujo remembers when they provided service to a company who let its invoice go past due. When she responded sternly with a letter and plan of action, it came as a surprise to the business.
"We're tough and we're not going to let anyone under estimate that we're serious about this," she said.