"Don’t just get your toes wet, jump in!"
Kayla Alaniz is the owner of CASA Wholesale
in Yakima, Washington. Casa Wholesale is a Discounted Home Goods & Retail Warehouse located at 101 Butterfield Rd Suite D, Yakima, WA 98901.
We had the pleasure of interviewing Kayla about her experience being a first time business owner.
Kayla opened her business in October of 2019 and has pushed on through the challenges of the pandemic with the help of her family.
What is your background and how did you get started with your business?
I am from Yakima Washington, and I went to ASU where I earned my Bachelor of Science. This just started on a whim. I wanted to do something that was family driven, and something that my dad could maintain. My dad is a blue collar worker and painted his whole life, and that’s taking a toll on his body now that he's coming into his 60’s. This was brought into fruition because I wanted something that was sustainable for my dad.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
When I was younger I wanted to be an astronaut - But we’ll just say I always wanted to own a business - I mean I did! I always wanted to own a business, but I was always science driven. I thought I was going to go to Mars, but I can barely be in a car for a couple hours.
I always knew that I wanted to do something in business. I didn’t comprehend that, but now when I look back I think, ‘well yeah I liked to re-sell things or I liked to make things and sell them.' I didn’t comprehend that at the time though.
In moments of self-doubt, how do you build yourself back up?
It is always family. Family drives everything that I do. If it wasn’t for my family believing in me, and investing in me and trusting me so blindly I wouldn't be here. Had it not been for my family, I would not have a business. The successes of the business are not mine and mine alone. They are those of the community, my family and friends and everybody who has taken time to help invest. I think the biggest investment anyone can give is time, because there’s no monetary value to time.
I recently held my first backpack drive and I donated over 200 backpacks to Garfield Elementary in Toppenish. That was really fulfilling because I got all these letters and drawings from students about how thankful they were. Giving kids something that they take pride in because it's cool and something they may not have been able to afford is really rewarding.
"The biggest investment anyone can give is time, because there’s no monetary value to time."
What advice would you give to someone who is starting their own business?
Just do it. I know it's so cliche, but literally it's just doing it. There's so many people that talk and say “Oh I wanna do this and I wanna do that” and just come over! I’ll help you! We’ll go get the business license, we’ll start the steps, just do it. Just jump in, don’t just get your toes wet, jump in.
Or just Google it! Call CSC, they’ll help you. If it weren’t for Bertha Alicia, I would not have a business. They helped me to understand that it was not as hard to go through the paperwork and process. I didn't realize that you didn't need an attorney for half the things required to start a business.
What are some of the local businesses that you enjoy visiting or supporting?
Anything woman owned, I will support through and through. Obviously of course they have to have good customer service and I have to believe in what they're doing.
If I don’t, I like to say "you know from a woman’s perspective and from a fellow woman owned business, I'd like to give you my advice - and you don't have to take it." I appreciate advice that people give me, because it's free advice, I mean people pay for that!
How do you maintain a life work balance?
It’s funny that you bring that up, because I was just having this conversation with a friend. I mean at the beginning you don't know how to balance. It’s just the business - the business - the business. But how I have been able to find balance with just unplugging.
Nowadays everything is run off of your phone and your phone is wherever you are. The biggest thing for me is coming home, I throw my keys down , my phone down and I just lose myself in whatever it is that I’m doing. In the beginning though, there is no unplugging. Your business is your life. In order to have a successful business it is 24 hours a day. There’s no sugar coating that. You’re taking calls, you’re up at 2 o'clock in the morning worried about how you're going to pay the rent, because in the beginning it really isn’t easy. If it was easy, everyone would own a business.
But after you're on your feet, and you're not drowning it's really just unplugging and finding what works for you.
101 Butterfield Road, Suite D.