From a young age, Kassandra Torres had a passion for fashion and design. After years of working jobs to help support her husband and four children, Kassandra was ready to fulfill her lifelong dream of running a boutique that helped others look their best. Kassandra attempted to launch an online clothing store in 2017, but she closed it within a year to focus on her family and demanding full-time job. When COVID hit Mercedes, Texas, in March 2020, Kassandra decided to stay home and focus on a new chapter in her career. She relaunched her online business, but this time, the store saw huge immediate sales.
“I took advantage of all my time at home to relaunch the boutique, calling it Mírame, a Spanish word that means ‘look at me,’ Kassandra said. “Mírame is all about empowering women to look good and feel good, no matter their age, size, or shape.”
Mírame’s fashions quickly gained a loyal online clientele. Still, Kassandra decided to expand her business footprint by opening a physical storefront, inviting new and existing customers to browse, shop, or even pick up online orders in person. She was ready to open the Mírame boutique in late 2020. However, she needed additional funds to set up the store.
As a new business owner, Kassandra did not qualify for a business loan with a traditional bank, however she found an alternate solution. “I wanted to establish my business, so I reached out to the SBA (Lower Rio Grande Valley) Office in Harlingen, and they referred me to Marlene Rodriguez at LiftFund. Marlene has helped so many businesses, and she worked with me, too, every step of the way. Marlene turned that stressful loan application into a smooth process, and I received funds through LiftFund’s partnership with the Eva Longoria Foundation.”
The new loan helped Kassandra update Mírame — allowing her to purchase additional inventory, renovate the dressing rooms, and set up the store’s computer and payment systems — and provide customers with a positive shopping experience.
Kassandra hopes to expand the Mírame brand in the months ahead, with plans to eventually hire a full-time employee, launch a fashion line for teens, and relocate the store to a larger city with a bigger market.
“I’m very fortunate and blessed to have worked LiftFund because they’ve helped my business thrive and grow,” she said. “If you love something and if you’re passionate enough about your dream, you should follow it.”