About the founder
I was born in Jalisco, Mexico and I love our culture. Growing up in Mexico and then LA, the culture was vibrant. Mexican drinks, treats and flavors were on every block. I couldn’t image a place where this wasn’t the case. Yet when our family moved halfway across the country to Texas, the unimaginable occurred. Time helped suppress the need for a mamey agua fresca but that lingering desire roared back every time we visited family in Mexico.
I followed a traditional career path, attending UT Dallas and getting a job in accounting. One particularly awful busy season, I promised myself that if I were to ever work this hard again, it would be doing something I loved. I quit. I then sought more meaningful work yet I was unsatisfied with what I found.
I naturally gravitated to my childhood love: the Mexican culture and flavors. Sol Dias was born months later and I haven’t looked back since. I am excited to wake up everyday knowing that my contributions make people happier, even if it is just for a couple minutes as they enjoy their treat.
I began the year trying to figure out how to operate a manufacturing facility, a store front and an e-commerce shop. At this point in time, I was convinced we were never opening another paleteria and we would hyper-focus on selling SolDias ice cream online and wholesale to grocery stores. Why this route? In short, 70% of ice cream consumed in the US is purchased in stores and consumed at home. Additionally, opening paleterias requires lots of capital upfront, patience, and carries a good amount of risk.
So this new goal meant big challenges were coming down the pipeline as only 60% of our sales came from our frozen line of products. I naturally tried to focus most of my energy on those two parts of our business but the paleteria kept tugging at me like a young toddler asking their parents to pay attention to them.
In an effort to free my time, I decided to take a leap of faith. I trained a promising team member, Perla, to manage the paleteria. "I can finally grow the pieces that matter", I thought.
After months of improving the online store (trying to ship ice cream) and trying to make deals with grocery stores, my efforts fell flat. We had a delivery van but no routes, we had ice cream ready for shelves but no customers. I felt beat. Around this time, I was incredibly lucky to attend a workshop with Jeni, founder of Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream. I asked her as many questions as I possible could. I'm sure she was annoyed at least a few times at my persistence. By the end of the workshop, one thing was clear - going after grocery stores and online sales at our companies current stage, was a HUGE mistake. Her advice was simple, focus on your community and building your brand. What is one of the best ways to build our brand? Yup, more paleterias.
I come back to DFW, let my team know the news and the hunt for our next location began. We did get our manufacturing license so wholesale wasn't thrown out the door, it just wasn't a part of our strategy. Our attitude was, "if wholesale customers call, great, if not, great".
We fast forward to the end of the year and SolDias products are on 2 store shelves - PocoLoco in Waco and the Table in Fort Worth. We secured a new location for SolDias in DFW, plans are underway. For updates follow us on social media @soldiasco Instagram, Tiktok or Facebook. I will be on the ContenderCast podcast in late March 2022. I will also be rolling out a class on how to open brick and mortar snack shop because if you've never done it before, there are so many surprises along the way. Even if you have, a refresher is always a good idea.
A couple other wins in 2021
- We aired on QVC and HSN in September
- Rep Granger came to visit our shop - September
- Telemundo NBC ran a commercial on us - September.
- We had a thank you party for our amazing team in Oct
- And we launched bottles of Chile de Elote and pre-packaged mini mangonadas.
Can't wait for the road blocks, successes, failures, face plants, and high rises we will face in 2022!
The upstart entreprenuers redefining the American Dream
Our Team and Community Involvement
We love what we do. We love our customers and fellow team members. We love having the opportunity to share not only the flavors of Mexico but also the culture of friendliness, camaraderie, and closeness. We host community events, and make donations in hopes of making peoples day brighter and sweeter.
We are partnering with our local library to host a free events to assist the Hispanic community in filing their income tax returns. Current government programs provide free income tax preparation services but do not teach and empower them to be able to file them on their own. We focus on low income individuals and teach them how to file. Our goal is that the following year they will be able to file on their own. We discovered this need by speaking with our customers we have noticed a growing need for financial education. We hear time and time again how they are unable to do basic tasks like sign their children up for classes or free lunch because signup is only available online. Language barriers, immigration status, income and overall resources are all factors that often times hold Hispanics back from many, many privileges we take for granted. This type of event will be the first of many in our attempt to help our community be more financially and technically literate.
We host anniversary parties at our shop. They are fun events were we give away treats, play music, face paintings, jumpy houses and other fun activities for all to provide.
We volunteer and donate treats with the following organizations throughout the year, on average pre-COVID we would attend 3 events per month.
- Our local recreation center
- Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
- Junior Achievement
- Big Brothers Big Sisters
- Local library
- Local churches
- Local little leagues
Our Vision: Values, Purpose and BHAG
Winners of the Latinx Pitch Competition Hosted by the Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Was 2020 the year of COVID for you? Will it define this last year in your eyes?
Honestly, COVID was a wake up call for us all. As an entrepreneur, you expect unforeseeable challenges that force the business to pivot. It's probably one of the most exciting parts. COVID brought an entirely different level of uncertainty. You didn’t know when they may shut restaurants down, how long it would all last, or if one of our team members would get infected. Never mind the worries of providing for your family and their health.
Was 2020 the year that humbled you? Did you feel secure only to see a future you imagined fall to pieces? That was us. We invested heavily early in the year expecting to kick off our busy season in March strong. As the pandemic hit and sales dropped to all time lows, we weren’t sure if we’d be able to pay our bills.
Was 2020 the year that forced you to finally take that risk or do that thing you’ve thought about for so long? It was for us. We moved locations, rebranded and expanded our e-commerce store. Three big challenges with no guarantee. We now have a better location with a drive-thru, and our customers can reach us in safer, more convenient ways.
Did losing something or worse, someone, wake you up to realize how much you care about what and who you already have in life? Did it make you think less about what you don’t have? Or maybe for you it was just the fear of loss. We didn’t hit our 2020 financial goals, but we didn’t close down. Every one of our team members was able to keep their job and stay healthy. We are blessed because we know this wasn’t the case for so many.
2020 wasn’t the year we imagined, but it was one of adapting, expansion, and gratitude. Whatever loses or new beginnings came for you in 2020, thank you all for your continued support. We wouldn’t have made it without you. We are going to continue to struggle, fight, and persevere right along with you in 2021 - so if nothing else, you can count on a little Mexican snack shop for comfort.
Feliz ano nuevo, familia.