We had the good fortune of connecting with Stephanie Carbajal and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Stephanie, is there a quote or affirmation that’s meaningful to you?
My favorite quote would have to be “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” by Wayne Gretzky. I first heard the quote when my boyfriend was motivating me to start what was then a hobby. We had briefly spoken about me becoming a creator as a hobby and seeing where it went. Jokingly I said to him one day I want to have my products in a store and fast forward about 4 years later, I now work with 3 local businesses in providing merchandise for them such as a variety of drink ware, limited edition merchandise, and promotional items. We are working on expanding the items we currently offer to incorporate new items they could have in their stores. Before I make a decision on something , my boyfriend and I will discuss the idea in depth and I keep this quote in mind to remind myself of how far I’ve come but also to keep pushing myself into growing and expanding.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?

I first began creating items for my family and friends. I started with party decor, custom shirts, drinkware, and decals for musical equipment. As time went on they started referring their friends and family to me to make them unique one of a kind items.

Within my 6 months of starting I was recognized by two large crafting companies on Instagram, Siser and Orafol Americas INC. By my first year, Teckwrap Craft, another large crafting company, had begun sharing my work on their Instagram. After that, Shop Craftables and Vinyl Frog USA reached out to me to collaborate with them. They sent me some of their materials and in return I wrote a blog post for Shop Craftables and created content for them using the materials they sent.

It wasn’t until 3 and a half years later that I decided to step out of my comfort zone and attend a local farmers market and have a booth showcasing the items I had to offer.

It was then one day one of the owners of Lucha Kombucha, a local business that had a booth at the market, approached me about making some promotional cups for them. We exchanged information and talked about a design. Shocked by the opportunity I went home and started thinking of a design. Once we got the design to them we worked on the final details with the business owners to make sure it was exactly what they had envisioned. They had their promotion in February and quickly sold out of their cups. This was not only a great accomplishment for their business, but also for ours. We finally got our items into a store! But it didn’t stop there. So while we were still running a booth, we were now expanding and reaching others outside of the market. The market season was coming to and end and my boyfriend and I were thinking of ways to keep the business busy. We made and Etsy account to transition over to after the market season so we could continue to offer our items.

We live in a small town and we have great small/local business support within our community. We started interacting more with other vendors and businesses and started creating a bond with some of them. We followed each others social media’s, purchased items, & supported them. One of these was another small business, Nikki’s Chickies Farm that complimented our cup collaboration with Lucha Kombucha.

There was another local business, Sunshine Cafe, that was going to start hosting vendor markets and they invited us to attend their markets. My boyfriend and I talked about it and while we knew we couldn’t manage having two booths running at the same time, we decided we would attend one market on Saturday and the other on Sundays to expand our reach, after all, “we miss 100% of the shots we don’t take” -Wayne Gretzky. We attended their markets and that is when our whole world took a turn.

They request 5 custom cups and after working on the details and designs they requested an additional 200 cups so they could have as promotional items. I could not believe it! We were getting somewhere now with local businesses by working together to support one another. It was also at this new market where Nikki from Nikki’s Chickies Farm approached us about getting cups into their store they were about to open!

Because we decided to attend the second markets, we were presented with opportunities we had goals to achieve in the far future. We are currently still working with these businesses, running an website, and attending events we are invited to.

My boyfriend does all of the research and development for the business. With these opportunities I was able to expand our business and purchase new equipment and upgrade some of the machinery to be able to incorporate new items. We test all of our items and materials before we offer them to the public and make adjustments to ensure the final products are up to standards.
While we are happy with where we are now, we know this not where we want to stay and have plans for bigger and better things in the future.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Historic Downtown Yuma is a great place to visit. There are plenty of shops to go shopping at, a variety of different restaurants, a movie theater, the Yuma Art Center, and the night life hot spot. Throughout the year, the Art Center has many different events, performances, and concerts. During the cooler season you will find different farmers markets downtown, and from November to March, the Yuma Community Farmers Market is hosted at the Yuma Palms Shopping Center on the weekends.

West Wetlands is also another place to visit in Yuma. There’s a large playground that has recently been expanded, there are hiking and biking trails, and access to the river with plenty of room to set up a picnic area.

My go to favorite places to eat are Ronnie’s Pizza and Takos & Beer. Lastly I would make sure to stop by Lucha Kombucha for the best cold brew in town that they pair with their iconic Hispanic creamer flavors such as mazapan, horchata, and abuelita to name a few.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Without a doubt my boyfriend and our daughter! They have adjusted to this new normal life where I try and balance being an entrepreneur while still working a full time job. It’s been challenging but I couldn’t do it without his support. He has taken on all of the house duties so I can come home from work and do what makes me happy. I am so grateful to have his support from the beginning when he suggested I start this as a hobby. We never imagined it would be what it is today, but we know this isn’t where we want to stay. Planning a business and a life with him has been amazing and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for us.

Website: steecatandpals.com

Instagram: @steecatandpals

Facebook: SteeCat & Pals Decals

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