Guerrilla graphix X WESST
getting you off the ground and running.
Kathy La Plante “never try to
go it alone!”
January 2015, I became an officially retired federal employee and found myself trying to decide what I wanted to do when I grew up. I took a variety of classes at CNM-Montoya Campus and although they were fun and interesting, I just wasn’t feeling it. I began tossing around various ideas for a business in my head and started searching for ways to make my idea happen. Seemingly by accident, I came across the Women's Economic Self-Sufficiency Team or WESST and immediately got connected with Clint Reecer, Regional Manager, Albuquerque who became my business mentor. Together he and I set out to create my business - which in nine short months, I am proud to say, was officially launched on October 14, 2017.
La Plante’s Soft Drink Specialists, LLC was born and right off the bat seems to be thriving. My concept of researching, evaluating, and curating top quality ingredient, naturally sweetened, hand-crafted root beer and vintage-style soda was apparently a good one, but my company is not off to a great start just because I had a good idea. My immediate success is more importantly due to the fact I was able and willing to throw out the really bad ones. Because I was serendipitously connected to others who were willing and able to expertly guide me, I am now feeling quite confident that together we got it right. Let me explain: My original idea was to create a brick and mortar store off Old Route 66 using an old-timey Route 66 theme. After much research regarding feasibility of this concept, I made what Clint always refers to as a “pivot”. I decided that no space in the Edgewood/Moriarty communities would suit my needs, so I said why not go mobile? Today I sell my craft soft drinks and gourmet popcorn from the “Joy-mobile” a Ford Transit Connect truck at local events and love every minute of it!
Again, I didn’t get where I am today on my own. Early in my journey, I decided I needed to talk with someone about branding and advertising. I'd seen a KUNM anniversary T-shirt and loved the design and colors. So, I called KUNM and was told the shirt was designed by Guerrilla Graphix and that I should connect with them. I phoned and spoke with Justin Moulton. I went to see Justin the next day. As soon as my concept started to emerge from my mouth, Justin did not hesitate to redirect me from the ubiquitous Route 66 theme and color scheme into exploring other options. I was impressed that this guy was willing to question my ideas and help me to see how I might be more successful going in a completely different direction.
We began exploring other themes as Justin became interested in my last name...La Plante. I explained to him the origin, which in French basically means people who plant things. He became fascinated with my family history. He suggested I use my last name for the company title and we went from there. I'll be honest, it felt weird and uncomfortable seeing my name emerge as the highlight of a whole branding package. I showed it to my other mentors and they got it right away. It seemed I was the only one hesitating.
Now I see his beautiful work on my website and on the panels of my truck and just smile. Moving forward I hope to expand into wholesale/reselling and catering to businesses wanting to offer employee or customer appreciation events. A hand-crafted soda and gourmet popcorn at a Monday morning meeting sounds so much better than an old stale bagel or doughnut wouldn’t you say?
In conclusion, I have learned with the help of both Clint Reecer and Justin Moulton that no matter how good an idea is…we all need professional help and occasionally must rely on the expertise of others. I would not hesitate to recommend WESST and Guerilla Graphix for any aspiring entrepreneur and I am very grateful I found them!