US Brand strategy agency and Salvadorean sustainable fashion CEOs align to bolster business
East Longmeadow, MA – Brand strategy agency Six-Point was honored to host Sofía Aparicio, CEO & Founder of April from El Salvador, as part of the U.S. State Department exchange program called the Professional Fellows Program on Economic Empowerment.
Meghan Lynch, Sofia Aparicio, MJ Hyndman-Benander and Margaret Ann Gomez
Sofía Aparicio is a tenacious business owner whose life experiences and spirit to serve as a role model and community leader have driven her to early career accomplishments. Despite the challenges of being a teenage mother, she was determined to set an example for her daughter. Sofía launched her first business at age 19, selling handmade pizzas at a gas station. With the revenue earned, she turned to e-commerce and sold undergarments on Facebook. In the first few days, she had over 100 orders. She soon opened a store, April, where she sells a variety of classic women’s apparel. Her business has continuously grown for the last 13 years.
“Early on, I was thinking so much smaller,” said Sofía. “The key to enjoying your life in the midst of working on your business is to have great partners who help you to lead your projects to greater places; that’s what Six-Point Creative provides for its clients.”
Parallel to Sofía’s journey at this time, Meghan Lynch, Six-Point’s CEO, has been focusing on increasing her brand strategy agency’s impact, particularly on family-owned businesses like Sofía’s that have an opportunity to reshape industries and directly impact communities. “While publicly run companies have a lot of resources, they are at the mercy of shareholders. Family businesses don’t have anyone to answer to other than their own values and vision. If they don’t like how things are done in their industry, or they see potential in the community where they grew up, they have the power to make immediate and sweeping change,” explained Meghan. “When I heard Sofía’s story, I knew we would learn a lot from each other.”
In 2016, Sofía became aware of the poor work conditions in the mills where her products were made. She swiftly launched textile production and incorporated a locally made clothing line to her stores, increasing ethical labor standards and local employment. She now runs the retail, the production, and also conducts 40% of her business through e-commerce. At the store, she employs nine young women (18-23 years old) who are financially responsible for their families. Sofía has made unconventional investments of both time and money in building a company culture that fosters growth and opportunity for her employees. For example, she brings one employee each time she takes a trip to visit a supplier, which is often the first time the young women have left El Salvador. She wants to give them opportunities to grow personally and professionally, not simply a paycheck.
Sofía’s brief time spent with Six-Point was focused on exploring strategies to continue to grow her business in order to impact and hire more women in her region, as well as increase the presence and celebration of Salvadorean culture in the clothes she produces and sells. Sofía spent time with the Six-Point team of strategists and project managers, exploring ways to scale her brand and increase the impact of technology in her systems and processes at April. Six-Point also facilitated visits to other businesses in Massachusetts, including Scout Curated Wears, BRIGADE, and Stand Out Truck, to help Sofía gain additional exposure and insight into strategies that could help her scale her operations.
“As an entrepreneur, passion and curiosity are two of the most critical traits you can have, and Sofía embodies both,” said Six-Point CEO Meghan Lynch. “Our mission at Six-Point is to blaze new trails in business, and supporting Sofía and April in this fellowship exchange is completely aligned to that mission. Sofía’s vision to bring more sustainability to the fashion industry, to create more opportunity in rural communities in El Salvador, and make the April brand a celebration of Salvadorean culture… it is a trailblazing vision, and it is energizing and rewarding to help her push it forward.”
As part of the exchange program, Meghan will visit El Salvador in November to support Sofía’s growth plan and learn more about the Salvadorean business landscape. The two entrepreneurs are confident that these visits will be the start of a lasting partnership and mutual support.
At Six-Point, we focus on marketing and growth strategy specifically for family businesses. Amplify your voice. Safeguard your legacy. Unlock a whole new level of growth. Stay connected at sixpointcreative.com.
At April Store, local fashion production, we believe in an industry more fair, circular and sustainable. Stay connected at Aprilholics.com.
The Professional Fellows Program on Economic Empowerment is a global exchange designed to promote mutual understanding, enhance leadership and professional skills, as well as build lasting, sustainable partnerships between mid-level emerging leaders from foreign countries and the United States. Learn more at https://exchanges.state.gov/