Monica Mohammadi, who grew up in Riverside, is a business owner living one of her dreams. She poured her passion and creativity into event planning.
"It was my passion of mine that I've always had creating really beautiful decor, balloons, backdrops, just kind of really making people feel happy," said Mohammadi.
As a daughter of immigrant parents from Colombia and Iran, Mohammadi credits LATINAfest as a place that helped her grow the first year she started Balloons and Blooms.
"They definitely opened a lot of doors for me, they really taught me how to be confident, you know, especially with me having a booth there meeting people, just the connections that I have with these women too," said Mohammadi.
LATINAfest is an annual gathering of entrepreneurs founded by two L.A. natives who combined their experience in journalism and media - Naibe Reynoso and Bel Hernandez.
"The festival is about empowerment. It's about passion. It's about networking, and it's about Latinos helping Latinas," said Hernandez.
"To connect with other Latinas, to honor our culture, to buy things that are culturally relevant to us, to discover Latina owned brands," described Reynoso.
The duo tapes their talk show "The Trend Talk" at LATINAfest and will also offer some resources for those getting started. For Mohammadi, it was also an opportunity to connect with her Latina roots.
"I don't really speak much Spanish, but being around people that helped me, you know, get out of my comfort zone and to speak Spanish helps me even speak Spanish better," said Mohammadi. "It was very empowering meeting other female business owners. It was pretty amazing because it was people from, my you know, my background, my culture."
"It's very satisfying to know that we're creating something where Latinas can feel celebrated," said Hernandez. "Where we're not victims, we're not being portrayed, as you know, as in a stereotypical way, it's a place where you can feel you belong or you're celebrated."
For more information, visit: www.latinafest.net.
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