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Meet Niurka Castaneda of Amor Umbrella in Kendall

Today we’d like to introduce you to Niurka Castaneda.

Niurka, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I grow up in Cuba and I come from a family of entrepreneurs and artists. My grandfather was a poet, my parent’s Cuban entrepreneurs. They were very resourceful people and why I believe I have been enterprising and artistic. My family moved to Miami because of the political and social situation. Our journey is like many others immigrating to the US, we were looking for the opportunity to succeed on our own and give the family a better quality of life.

Personally, I felt the call to serve my new home and a year after arriving joined the Army, to serve this great country. It was one of the most rewarding and challenging decisions I have ever made. The military offered me many new experiences where I learned skills like resilience, flexibility, self-motivation, determination, self-discipline, goal setting, risk tolerance. At the time the Army motto was “ Be all you can be” I loved it, and I live by it. The skills I learned from the Army serve me well even today.

After, my military service I enrolled in college to develop my skills for civilian life. I am currently attending Miami Dade College studying in the Supply Chain Management program. This was another great decision for me because it allows me to translate my 20+ years of Logistical experience to the civilian supply chain world.

My business, “Amor Umbrella” was developed as a student project for one of my classes at Miami Dade College. I took my natural curiosity, and love for unique umbrellas developed and transformed them into a real business. It was a perfect marriage of my previous military logistical experience and the knowledge and feedback provided by the Supply Chain Management Program. My professor and classmates offered advice and gave their time to help me get the business off the ground.

I am very grateful to those that have supported me along my journey as a veteran entrepreneur. My family, my friends, my professors, and mentors have provided me the tools and guidance that I needed to explore my ideas and solidify my vision. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for Amor Umbrella. It has been an incredible journey so far, full of challenges and bumps along the way but very rewarding.

Miami is a fascinating city and is a hub of creativity and diversity. I’m so proud to be part of this community where I get to meet and make friends with so many different people. Many of my new friends, students, professors, other veterans and clients would not hesitate to help, support and encourage without hesitation. This is why I love Miami.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Yes and no, nowadays there is a lot of competition. You have to differentiate yourself by providing excellent customer service, by being authentic and by being transparent. I relied heavily on the skills I gained in the military and the knowledge I learned while studying Supply Chain Management to know when to pivot and find new solutions to issues that might arise along the way. Every new struggle is an opportunity to learn something new and to be innovative.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Amor Umbrella – what should we know?
When our customers shop for Amor Umbrella products, they are not just making a purchase; they’re writing the next chapter in their own stories and creating lasting memories because a good gift is one that makes the recipient feel cared for, loved, or appreciated and brings joy. Amor Umbrella is equal parts e-commerce store and inspiration. More than products and services, we offer gifts that create moments of joy that transform ordinary moments into extraordinary.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
So many people have helped me along the way. My family, my friends, my professors, and mentors. They all have been an invaluable source of insight and feedback on my ideas. I would have not gotten to where I am today, without their help.

Richard Sarabia, DBA, my professor and mentor that has not only offered me invaluable insight, time and again, his time and skills as a photographer.

My classmates (Paula Pereira Da Silva, Theresa Smith, Jessalyn Martinez, Silvia Litvinov) to name a few that not only provided me feedback but that also freely volunteered their time to model for my products. My talented niece, Jainelly Gainan with her eye for photography that has helped showcase my beautiful umbrellas in a very artistic way.

Ms. Kathryn Anastacio, my ACP mentor that takes the time out of her busy life to guide me through the process of developing my message.

The counseling services provided by IVMF, SDBC, VBOC, SBA, ACP, where professionals are always willing to help and guide you.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Jainelly Gainan
Richard Sarabia, DBA

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