The Hispanic mother taking conventional Mexican artwork designs international on TikTok
TikTok has been around since September 2017, but the platform saw a steady surge in popularity at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, as many Americans went about their daily routines at home and many looked for alternative forms of entertainment and social connection.
However, not all TikTok users were there because of the endless scrolling to kill time, the viral dances or cooking tutorials. Lots of people started using the app to get more exposure for their small business and hopefully increase their customer base and sales.
A Latina entrepreneur, Cassie Sorensen, struck gold using the app’s viral sounds and trends to showcase her vibrant Mexican-inspired products.
Sorensen’s path to starting her own small business only began when she lived in Yucatán, Mexico with her husband and children for three years. She was a dedicated home mom for over 20 years, which she regards as both a privilege and a choice.
“We got this opportunity thanks to my husband’s support. So it never crossed my mind to run a company or be some kind of entrepreneur, ”Sorensen told AL DÍA.
During her years in Yucatán, Sorensen fell in love with everything there. She is Latina with Mexican roots and was born and raised in South Texas. But during her time in her “home country” her family immersed herself in the language and culture.
Sorensen became so immersed in the local cultural and business scene that she even started taking classes and learning the craft of loom weaving.
“I learned a bit about fiber and textile art and of course I went to the handicraft markets and bought things myself. I just loved all of the colors that were depicted in the pieces. And I think as I took these courses and learned more about them, I wondered if I might be able to do something with them, ”said Sorensen.
Sorensen then teamed up with a number of craftswomen and is now working with them in a fair trade cooperation. While most of the designs are from artisans, Sorensen creates a few original pieces for her shop.
Her small business, Tassel Amor, sells beautiful colored tassels, handbags, and earrings.
Weaving looms is a very time consuming and complicated craft, and Sorensen explained that the techniques are passed down from generation to generation.
“For me, I just love to support and support their work [the artisans] mostly because we all know last year was tough for everyone and many of their buyers didn’t buy from them. Boutiques were closing and they had buyers worldwide sourcing from them, ”said Sorensen.
“Because not so many people went shopping, orders also fell. So it was just the perfect timing that TikTok really got going because I was able to place even larger orders from them; more and more quantities, ”she added.
Sorensen’s customer base is quite diverse, going well beyond people of Mexican or Latin American descent. Before upgrading to a larger studio, Sorenson was working on dinner table orders, and her daughter once asked her if all of her customers were Mexican.
She was surprised by her daughter’s question and explained that her customers, “at least by last name,” are not all Mexicans and have many different backgrounds. Sorensen then created a TikTok about this conversation, which went viral and garnered 2 million views.
“It’s pretty cool that people all over the world love this fine art,” her daughter said.
In particular, Sorensen theorizes one product that is hugely popular with a wide variety of people, evil eye design, which has its roots in Greek, Roman, Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist, and Hindu traditions.
Sorensen tried TikTok because she kept hearing that small business owners need to use the platform.
“I chose this because it was really hard to grow on Instagram in early 2020. There weren’t any roles yet and the growth was very slow. For me, I’ve just got to a point where I thought, “Why not? What do I have to lose? ‘ I started finding small businesses there and I just fell in love with the community there, ”said Sorensen.
People gave tons of tips and tricks, and Sorensen quickly learned that the community is very supportive, so she stuck with it. She started producing videos in March 2020 and within a few months sales were steadily growing. Fast forward to February 2021 and her sales were booming.
But with persistence and creativity, Sorensen was able to sell out their online store within minutes of replenishing. Customers commented on their videos by saying, “I just ordered this,” which really warmed Sorensen’s heart.
Sorensen’s three viral videos consisted of a conversation with her daughter, an inspirational quote, and her story about life in Mexico.
When asked to offer advice to budding small business owners, Sorensen suggested that they should just do it and use what they have, start where they are, and know that there is room for them and that that is extraordinary Things take time.