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Hidden Gems: Meet Eduardo Urbaez of TropicalBlvd

Today we’d like to introduce you to Eduardo Urbaez.

Hi Eduardo, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
When I was eleven years old, my mother and I moved from Venezuela to Miami, FL without many resources nor an American education. We landed in the city of Doral, only 30 minutes away from Miami Beach. At first, it was a culture shock for me because I had to adapt to a new language and learn an array of Latin cultures that I was not familiar with. My mom had to work as a salesperson selling floors and studying full time to become a doctor once again (she had already become a pediatric doctor in Venezuela).

As a first-generation immigrant, I found myself going head-on after the American dream without predecessors that could guide my mom or her tropical boy along the way. When I got older, I moved frequently in search of new opportunities – I moved to the freezing midwest seeking a bachelors degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, then moved to the big city of Chicago for an entry-level marketing opportunity, and lastly, the experience I gathered led me to Los Angeles, CA. During my travels, I discovered that there were no fashion stores that appealed to me nor clothes that reminded me of home. Every other weekend since I was born, I’ve been surrounded by tropical patterns and beach vibes. Therefore, I found myself homesick for the bright colors that evoked memories of my grandparents’ warm land. The more frustrating thing is that when I did find clothes I liked, they were too expensive and did not fit well! So one day, while talking about this problem with my mom over lunch, she said “why don’t you just start your own store?” And this is how Tropicalblvd.com was born.

Today I am proud to say that I co-founded His & Hers All Day, LLC – the holding company of our brands – with my mother Dr. Corina Gonzalez. Nineteen years later, we both have embraced the melting pot of American culture and grown to have fulfilling jobs in our industries. My mom became the head of pediatrics at a clinic in California and I landed a dream job in tech at HBO Max while I finish my Masters of Science in Artificial Intelligence (AI) at the University of San Diego. While we are both satisfied in our professions, there was something lacking in our lives as a result of all of the sacrifices we had to endure along the way. Both of us were compelled to leave our home time and again in order to pursue our next objectives. Therefore, we decided this time it was going to be different. We were going to bring home to us and share designs from our LatinX home and similar cultures with the online coastal community. Our inspiration for floral patterns comes from growing up in the Venezuelan island of Margarita and our years in the city of Miami. Our primary markets include coastal enthusiasts located in the USA or Spain.

Our business has managed to endure the hardships of the pandemic due to the constant innovation of our LatinX talent. Every single one of our business partners is like family to us and this movement towards non-discriminatory relationship-based growth is what is resonating with our customers. I’m personally humbled and grateful for having my best friend, cousins, grandma, uncles, aunts, along with our partners and business consultants under one team. Not many CEOs at other companies can tell you they know their CTO (Juan Rodriguez) for 23 years nor that their abuelita and aunt are jewelry experts with over 40 years of experience running their very own brand (JewelsGenie.com is the fruit of their efforts). This is how close our team is, we care for our people and our doors are open to anyone regardless of their origin. The online community has been very supportive of our brands. We did not know how well we were doing until Shopify invited TropicalBlvd to be featured in their first Spanish-speaking advertisement for their international expansion back in 2020.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Logistics during the pandemic, a time when supply chains are stretched thin, has been our biggest challenge. Like many other online retailers, we depend on the support of multiple parties – such as our international suppliers and logistics partners. Therefore, the chances of one out of thirty orders facing a challenge are high. In 2021, we learned that excellent communication with our customers is key to maintaining trust when things don’t go according to plan. Our team has done an excellent job at keeping our customers happy with transparent communication about what is happening behind the scenes. You could even say that some lucky Spanish-speaking customers even got the personal touch of receiving a call from grandma updating them about their orders when resources were limited. As a result of the demand, we now offer free shipping across all of our products regardless of the destination to adapt to our customer’s expectations.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
Tropicalblvd is an online store that specializes in coastal goods, floral motifs, and natural textures. Imagine buying a variety of rainforest bed linens, bamboo-style lamps, pineapple beach towels, and even Japanese or Hawaiian inspired beachwear – all from the same store. Our shop has over 650+ items to choose from. Given our wide range of products, we provide shopping assistance to our customers. We help anyone who can’t find a specific product or who simply needs help finding a gift for a special someone.

My job as the CEO is to develop an environment where ideas are openly welcomed. Everyone has a voice in our team of twelve members. We all meet anywhere from two to three times on a weekly basis to plan our next sprint. We follow agile methods to prioritize resources on accomplishing the most crucial tasks above all others.

The team is currently working on evolving our internal inventory management software (hiventa.com) – an app that we plan to release to the public in Q1-Q2 2022 for the next generation of entrepreneurs. During our planning meetings, I’m known for requesting new features to be added to our roadmap. I then research those features and scope the project at a high level for our engineers. Then our CTO takes over and implements those ideas with the team. I’m also responsible for the marketing and I assist the inventory and logistics team with any challenges they encounter along the way.

I’m very proud of my team’s ability to adapt and learn. Our inventory selection process along with our proprietary software has given us a competitive edge. I’m also proud of our identity as we have not succumbed to the boring trends of Normcore fashion, where plain and simple are in style. Instead – in our store = we are floral, bright, warm, wild, and free. Nature is our inspiration and it will remain that way.

Where we are in life is often partly because of others. Who/what else deserves credit for how your story turned out?
The members of our team deserve all the credit. We would not be here today if it were not for my family, friends, and partners. My mom, Dr. Corina Gonzalez, is a warrior who works full-time as a doctor and manages our legal and financial matters as the co-owner of our company. Our Chief Technology Officer, Juan Rodriguez, is a tech wizard and we are very lucky to have him on board. He manages the engineering team and understands the vision inside and out. My aunt and grandma believed in the vision, provided seed funding and business expertise. We also thank our staff and business partners for working restlessly from the comfort of their homes. While we all have mixed feelings about this year, we endured it as a family and overcame all obstacles.

Pricing:

  • Free Shipping
  • Free 30 Day Returns
  • Offers Holiday Discounts
  • Offers Flash Sales
  • Free Shopping Consultation

Contact Info:

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