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She became a victim of domestic violence after coming to the US. Now, she's a business owner

Posted at 12:46 PM, Dec 13, 2019

SANTA FE, N.M. — Building a business takes time.

It’s a step-by-step, day-by-day process.

“I tell my customers, garments come in sizes, people come in shapes, so I connect them,” says Laura Hermosillo.

She started her alterations business in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 2008 at a time when many people might have given up.

She came to the United States in 2004 with her husband and her four children. She didn't speak English or a have a job.

Then she says she became the victim of domestic violence.

“I decided to take my children with me and go out with nothing except a backpack,” she says.

She ended up without any place to live.

“That’s not what I wanted,” she says. "I can’t stay here, I want something for myself.”

In a homeless shelter, Hermosillo started working to create her business that became her shop Alterations and More.

“Everything you see around is new. It's new in the beginning of my new life,” Hermosillo says.

Her business has grown to be multiple rooms and employs multiple people.

“This is a great city. I love Santa Fe,” Hermosillo says.

“I’ve lived here 40 years,” Marie Longserre says. "I do know from reading history all the way back to the early West that women had to be self-sufficient.”

Longserre is the head of the Santa Fe Business Incubator.

"I think there is a spirit for our history of women being able to succeed outside the old societal expectations,” she says.

Her nonprofit helps start-ups get off the ground.

“I think we’ve seen a societal shift. We’re in a place in the country where it’s acceptable, and I think living here requires a certain entrepreneurial spirit to begin with,” she says.

A spirit Longserre says is spreading to less traditional lines of work for women.

“I see a lot more women entering engineering sciences, math and so forth, in colleges and universities, and that is a huge step,” she says.

Steps like that are important in creating a better future, so there can be more success stories like Laura Hermosilo, who stepped past adversity to build her business, not letting fear shut her down.

“Don’t be scared," Hermosillo says. "Don’t be scared. If you're good (at) whatever you do, if you make it good, people are going to follow you … wherever you are.'