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Encantos CEO & Ad Club Awardee Susie Jaramillo on leading & innovating with Latin pride

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By Audrey Kemp, LA Reporter

May 30, 2024 | 8 min read

Susie Jaramillo, co-founder and CEO of Encantos, an award-winning ed-tech company that creates family-oriented content inspired by Latino culture, has been named ‘Startup of the Year’ by the Advertising Club of New York. The Drum catches up with Jaramillo on her path to success and her vision for the future of culturally rich storytelling.

susie jaramillo

Jaramillo is committed to celebrating and empowering diverse families through engaging content. / Credit: The Drum

Susie Jaramillo is the co-founder and chief executive of Encantos, a pioneering ed-tech company known for creating engaging and educational content that celebrates Latino culture.

With a background in art, creative direction and songwriting, Jaramillo has a unique talent for blending creativity with strategic business acumen. As the driving force behind Encantos, she has helped the company develop beloved brands like Canticos.

As the first Latina CEO of a children’s entertainment company, Jaramillo is dedicated to crafting culturally inspired content that resonates with diverse audiences globally. Her leadership and innovative approach have earned her numerous accolades, including most recently, the Advertising Club of New York’s ‘Startup of the Year’ award.

Can you tell us about some of the recent initiatives at Encantos that you are particularly proud of?

This week, we launch our fourth music album, leading with our title track, ‘Latinos in the USA,’ an anthem to US Latino joy, pride and heritage. Lines like “Americanos siempre all the way, Latinos in the USA, Hey Hey!” will fuel that sense of American belonging in bicultural Latino kids that we believe is essential.

album cover

We’re also launching a new initiative around soccer for fans who want to share their passion with their little ones. The initiative will include an online destination where parents will find a whole roster of ways to celebrate soccer with their family and friends, including a new sing-along video that will be promoted by YouTube Kids next week.

How does leading Encantos fuel your passion for creating culturally inspired content for today’s diverse kids?

The team at Encantos is a group of exceptionally creative professionals, always pushing the boundaries to bring ideas to life in ways that surprise and delight, especially for our families. My passion is fueled by the commitment of the team on this journey with me, the kids I meet, the culture I love, and the families we serve.

We’re driven by the desire to create mainstream children’s brands with a Latin feel and global appeal. Our philosophy challenges the notion that Latin content is exclusively for Latinos. We believe that brands with Latin DNA can have broad appeal, as evidenced by successes like ‘Dora the Explorer.’ We are confident in our ability to crack this code.

Additionally, we focus on integrating our content in ways that make sense for families and brands, leveraging our direct relationships with families. We receive real-time feedback on everything we create and even know the names of our superfans. There is a lot to be inspired by in this journey.

What does winning ‘Startup of the Year’ mean to you and your team?

Receiving this award is both incredible and humbling. When I first envisioned what Encantos could become, most people thought I was crazy — except for my cofounder, Steven Wolfe Pereira. This award is a testament to our shared vision and hard work. It signifies that the industry recognizes the significant opportunity we are addressing and validates our efforts. This recognition is also a tribute to our team’s extraordinary talent and dedication, whose unwavering commitment drives our success. It fuels our advisors and supporters and energizes all of us to continue striving for excellence.

As the first Latina CEO of a children’s entertainment company, what unique perspectives do you bring to the industry?

As the first Latina CEO of a children’s entertainment company an artist, creative director and songwriter, I bring a unique perspective to curating and producing global entertainment brands for kids. My diverse background and cultural intuition give me a deep understanding of American and Latino experiences in the USA. This combination of creative talent and business acumen enables me to innovate and lead in ways that resonate with diverse audiences. Balancing creativity with strategic insight has always been my approach, and this blend drives our projects’ success.

I’m deeply committed to leveraging every technological innovation to engage audiences in dynamic and playful interactions with our brands. As we build Encantos from the ground up, our focus is on creating the first entertainment company that is inherently direct, diverse, and digital.

This, coupled with my deep empathy and understanding of the fastest-growing market in this country (not to mention south of the border).

What advice would you give to other Latina entrepreneurs who aspire to make a mark in the tech and entertainment sectors?

I have a list:

  1. Choose the Journey: Entrepreneurship means embracing struggle, late nights and uncertainty. Don’t do it just for the money — it will get old fast. Do it for the impact and the joy of solving problems. Love the journey and let your passion light the way. The money will follow.
  2. Stay Focused: Keep your eyes on your business goals. Don’t get distracted by what others are doing.
  3. No Tolerance for Toxicity: Enforce a strict “No As*hole” policy. Work only with those you trust and respect.
  4. Embrace Tech: Technology is the backbone of modern engagement. Ignore it at your own peril.
  5. Learn from the Best: Surround yourself with people who know more than you do. Listen and learn from them. And if they work for you, let them do their jobs.
  6. Seek Advice, Not Permission: Ask for advice and truly listen, but don’t wait for permission or forgiveness. Be bold.
  7. Know and Trust Yourself: Understand your strengths and weaknesses. Know your audience, your competition, and the problems you’re solving. Trust yourself—if you don’t bet on you, who will?
  8. Be a Beacon: Step into the spotlight. Be a speaker, a thought leader, and the best ambassador for your business.
  9. Prove Them Wrong: Others might see you and your business as small because you’re Latina. They’re short-sighted and do not know what you are made of. Show them the power and influence of your culture.
  10. Fear is a Luxury: Fear is something you can’t afford. When you walk on air, you fly.

Looking ahead, what are your goals for the future of Encantos, and what exciting projects are on the horizon?

The crisis in traditional media and the surge in tech innovations present significant opportunities for Encantos. Stockholder pressure has left traditional children’s media companies hesitant to invest in new IPs, despite evolving audience demands. While studios lag, families have evolved, and tech platforms have become the new entertainment hubs.

There have never been more ways to connect directly with your audience or more tools to foster meaningful, personalized engagement. This unprecedented ability to own your fans offers immense opportunities for brands to connect directly with our core audience of millennial Latino parents with young children. These digital natives love what we do and are not consuming traditional media.

In response to the incredible love we are seeing for Canticos ... in the social space, we are aggressively expanding our digital infrastructure in the open web. At the core, we are partnering with Amrak to build the most advanced programmatic platform, enabling large and small advertisers to implement their most sophisticated data-driven buying strategies. As a result, we will be able to create powerful content for brands and deliver it with unparalleled precision, all within a prime destination where family and love rule.

For more about the Advertising People of the Year award, click here. Learn more about Encantos on its homepage.

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