Making It Makers

Elisabeth Rosario on Storytelling as a Tool for Brands

De Lo Mio is a Dominican term of endearment often used to express familial solidarity or affection with one another. Translated to “Of My People,” this expression is a way of seeing and naming our connection to others so that we can deepen our sense of belonging and grow stronger together.  This Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month, Squarespace is honoring the essential role community plays in affirming our identities and cultivating spaces of care.

In 2016, Elisabeth Rosario left her day job to found her communications consultancy and become her own boss. Two years in, she took another leap by launching a community-based newsletter that would grow into The Latinx Collective

From embracing the freedom of independent work, to leveraging her professional skills to serve her community, Rosario’s entrepreneurialism is motivated by her identity and lived experience. She recently talked with Squarespace about what inspired her to forge her own career path, why storytelling is key to business success, and how her online presence supports her work.

Squarespace: You run your own one-woman communications consultancy. What inspired you to found your business and be your own boss?

Elisabeth Rosario: I started working for myself in October 2016 so it’s pretty wild that it’s almost been five years of being my own boss! Back then I was at the point where just the thought of working so hard and so many hours for someone else, and yet not getting compensated in the way I deserved, was exhausting. I started out thinking I would experiment with consulting for a few months to see how I liked working on my own, and I quickly realized how much I enjoyed the freedom to create my own schedule, choose who to work with, and where I’d focus my time.

SQSP: In 2018 you founded The Latinx Collective. Before you launched, what were the initial steps you took to bring the platform to life?

ER: I had been thinking about the mission for a while before that but I couldn’t really figure out how to execute on it. During the November 2016 election, I was really overwhelmed by all the negative media coverage combined with the incorrect stereotypes about the Latino community that were in headlines. That made me realize that I could combine my professional skills and experience to solve a problem that mattered to me personally. I started with the newsletter and I wrote that first one for me — not for anyone else. From there, I eventually launched the website, the business directory (which started with around 40 Latinx entrepreneurs and now has over 150!), and I hosted events with companies like Squarespace.

SQSP: In addition to a newsletter, The Latinx Collective has a blog, La Revista, that shares stories and reporting from and for the Latinx community. How has your content strategy shifted as you’ve scaled?

ER: I initially started out with just the newsletter that I sent out every two weeks. Then in August of 2020 after lots of demands for it, I launched the Instagram community and was focusing heavily on consistent original content to engage with people who spent more time on social media. In 2019 I was focusing a lot more on the larger events but the pandemic paused all of those efforts. The launch of La Revista allows me to bring on freelance writers and contributors to help scale the mission with longer-form, original content like helpful resources, roundups, essays and interviews. I’m really excited about some programming and partnerships that are in the works and can’t wait to share more soon.

SQSP: What advice do you have for new entrepreneurs who want to leverage storytelling to grow their business?

ER: There are some stats that say that messages delivered as stories are 22 times more memorable than just facts. Storytelling is important — whether you’re raising money, hiring or growing a team, or convincing people to buy your product or service.

If you’re a small business owner with a website, please know that we want to know what your story is and how we can relate to you. Why were you the right person to start this business and what drove you to do it? What makes your product/service truly different from anything else out there? 

SQSP: What role does your online presence play in achieving your business goals?

ER: For my marketing and PR consultancy, I leverage my website as more of an online resume where prospective clients can learn more about me, not just as a business owner but also what I’m like as a human. For The Latinx Collective, it’s been a great place to find out what else is going on in the community depending on where people are coming from (my newsletter, the blog, social media, etc).

SQSP: How does the spirit of De Lo Mio come to life in your work?

ER: I’m the daughter of immigrants from the Dominican Republic. “De lo mio” is a term of endearment used over the past few years to acknowledge when you recognize another fellow Dominican, or want to show them love. Cultivating that sense of community and belonging is really important to me and that’s the mission of The Latinx Collective. Showcasing Latino successes and contributions in order to empower and motivate one another.

SQSP: In what ways are you expanding definitions of community? In how you define yourself and see yourself?

ER: As humans we need social interaction and relationships with other people, and that’s why communities are so important. To me, a community could be based around whatever it is that you need support and comfort around, whether it’s shared hobbies, work, culture, religion, or language. I see myself as being a part of many communities (like being a marketer or a creative, a small business owner, one of the rare Latina in the tech and VC world, or being a rare Dominican in Los Angeles) and I think it’s exciting that communities are so accessible today thanks to our phones and being online.

Ready to create your own online community? Get started with Squarespace.

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