Greeting cards are usually a fun, easy way to express your feelings to those in your life. They are usually sweet and a little corny, but that’s what they’re supposed to be, right? Well, Puerto Rican businesswoman Josie Arroyo decided that just won’t do anymore since the way we communicate has changed. Arroyo says she saw a voice that wasn’t being represented in mainstream greeting cards and wanted to disrupt the traditional greeting card industry with some risqué and super Latino cards. Hence, Bien Cool was born to cater to Latino millennials.
Meet Josie Arroyo, the founder of Bien Cool.
As Arroyo explains it, Bien Cool is a modern answer to the traditional greeting card. The cards offer customers modern designs and phrases that millennials commonly use when talking to friends and family, while keeping it sanitized and gentle.
Like any millennial, Arroyo’s idea came from a need to get her student loans paid.
“I was first inspired by my student loan debt. I really needed to find something to do to get a second income to pay off the loan,” Arroyo says. “During the late nights brainstorming from my bed, I decided to do witty and funny greeting cards that really expressed what I want to say and how I actually say it.”
The greeting cards range from fun and silly…
Tbh, we all have that one person in our life that is the Google for the crew. Usually it’s mom because we all know that she is never wrong.
To OMG. ?
“The cards in the market don’t speak the way the new generations do, and I wanted to change that,” Arroyo says.
“Hispanic millennials openly talk about gender equality, politics, human rights or sexuality as compared to their past Latino generations,” she adds. “These millennials are the target we are focused on. The ones who dare to express their feelings the way they honestly think and who are not worried about how older generations think about them or their feelings.”
Arroyo, who left her own career in media, saw an opportunity to disrupt an industry and achieve success.
“I love the content industry and the power of storytelling, but I also saw how big brands are failing to use this as an engagement strategy to gain younger customers,” Arroyo says about the moment she realized that this greeting card venture could be a thing. “When the idea came to me, I saw a huge potential for disrupting a traditional industry, talking the same language as new generations, sharing their interests, telling stories and making them laugh.”
Bien Cool is the product of Puerto Rican entrepreneurship during a financially volatile time, but that was actually a good thing, according to Arroyo.
“Building a business during Puerto Rico’s financial crisis may seem to be much harder, but it’s not impossible,” Arroyo says. “Although people in Puerto Rico may have less spending money, they are still spending. They are deciding to support local businesses and products more and more every day.”
The puertorriqueña entrepreneur believes that we are in a time when doing what you want and love is finally becoming the norm.
¡Gracias a @c0lorfuldisaster ??#Repost @c0lorfuldisaster with @repostapp ・・・ Si aún no has terminado de comprar los regalos de madres y no tienes ni idea de que comprar para los padres @biencool ✨ tiene algo para ti. Postales que sin duda son #BIENCOOL y le darán un toque divertido a tu regalo. ? #CompraLocal
Arroyo acknowledges that it isn’t always fun and easy to create your own startup but it is fulfilling to do what you love. The new status quo, according to Arroyo, should be enjoying what you do and doing what you enjoy.
After some significant success in Puerto Rico, with Bien Cool cards being sold in more than 100 locations, Arroyo is making the jump to the U.S.
In 2016, Arroyo says she sold more than 16,000 greeting cards on the island nation and has seen a growing interest in her product among Latino millennials in the U.S.
Don’t worry. Arroyo says that she knows that phrases from Puerto Rico aren’t used across all Latino cultures and she is going to do something about that.
“Puerto Ricans have their own Spanish language nuances, phrases and idioms. Sometimes through our slang, we can communicate things or share feelings like no other language can,” Arroyo says. “Why just say ‘I love you’ when you can say ‘Te adoro, corazón de melón?’ The same thing happens to Hispanics living in the United States. We are collaborating with copywriters from different countries to adapt and translate our messages to other cultures.”
Arroyo says that she is just a part of the upcoming group of young Puerto Rican entrepreneurs.
“Puerto Rico’s new generations are changing their minds and creating their own companies. We are not only starting to create our own jobs, but also thinking globally,” Arroyos says. “I just recently finished Parallel18, the first startup accelerator in the country, which makes Puerto Rico a launch pad for international expansion for the companies who participate from around the world.”
Arroyo says that entrepreneurs working together is going to be what changes the game.
“The biggest learning experience I’ve had since starting Bien Cool is learning from other entrepreneurs’ experiences,” Arroyo says. “Most of the time, they have been my most committed mentors and teachers.”