Crossing Borders. Blending Cultures
by Meredith Kay | Photography by David Teran
Growing up in Matamoros, Mexico, Fernanda and Lauri Revilla were truly raised to be bi-cultural. Their parents worked for maquiladoras on the Mexico side of the border, but the girls attended private school on the Brownsville side. This gave them the distinct advantage of becoming acclimated and well-versed in both their Mexican-Latin culture and the American culture as well.
Both sisters eventually attended U.T. Brownsville. Lauri graduated with a degree in Clinical Psychology, along with earning an associate degree in Spanish translation and interpretation. She then continued her education, earning her master’s degree in psychology at Our Lady of the Lake in San Antonio. Fernanda received her bachelor’s degree in business and her minor in marketing, then continued at U.T. Brownsville and earned her M.B.A.
The entrepreneurial spirit has always been in their blood. Their parents owned a clothing store when they were younger and would encourage this spirit by allowing them to run a candy booth within the clothing store. This taught them how to run a small business and the value of planning and working hard.
Lauri stayed in San Antonio after graduating from Our Lady of the Lake, and Fernanda eventually joined her. Their careers led them both to work for Bromley Communications, working closely with Hispanic advertisers on branding and messaging across the U.S. and in other Latin markets. When Bromley closed its doors in 2015, Lauri and Fernanda began doing freelance marketing and advertising while working out of Geekdom, an incubator and community of collaboration for entrepreneurs and start-up companies in downtown San Antonio. This was how their dynamic boutique advertising agency, Chamoy Creative, was launched.
Fernanda says, “We saw the need for a marketing agency that understands the Hispanic markets and the subtle differences among those markets that require advertising messaging to be tailored and targeted to specifically speak to these unique audiences.”
Lauri furthers this thought by saying, “We saw the gap, and we wanted to help marketers understand that there is a distinct difference between our local Hispanic market and Hispanic markets in other cities and countries. We never assume that all Hispanics are the same. There are many subtle differences, and if you don’t acknowledge those differences, then your message will be lost.”
The sisters partnered with Alejandro Perez-Segnini, who was born in Argentina, and Oscar Peña, a native of Mexico City. The four of them met at Bromley and made the decision to embark upon their journey to become a premier Hispanic marketing agency when they moved out of Geekdom and into their first office space in a building off Cevallos and South Flores. The agency began as a social media and digital marketing agency but quickly grew into a full-service advertising firm handling complete campaigns from creation through production and execution.
Fernanda and Lauri both light up with amusement and nostalgia when they recall, “We started with just $250, and the first two years, we worked until 2:00 a.m. and ate a lot of pizza trying to brand ourselves while branding our clients in their respective Latin markets.”
Eventually, they outgrew that space as they began to expand and hire other employees, but those early years taught them how to work together and rely on each of their individual strengths. Their growth led them to a building on the corner of McCullough and Mistletoe, where they continued to grow, earning the business of some very large and impressive companies, like Uber, CPS, SAWS, Community First Healthcare, Cerveza Sol, and Deep Eddy.
Fernanda says, “We have become known for our ability to differentiate between the various Latin cultures, and we have become very good at crafting unique marketing and advertising campaigns and messaging strategies that speak directly to those different cultures.”
Recently, Chamoy Creative achieved their goal of owning their own building when they purchased the building across the street, and they are in the process of bringing their unique character to the new space with design elements that are “Puro San Antonio.” In fact, the name Chamoy Creative was chosen because it embodies the idea of something that is uniquely Latin, but it also afforded the opportunity to be creative visually, and as the sisters say, “Everything is better with chamoy.”
Chamoy Creative is truly a full-service agency and has the ability to provide its clients with a 360° creative campaign. They are very adept at taking an advertising campaign in English and developing a campaign in Spanish that will speak to a Latin audience with the same vernacular and dialects that a target market can relate to. Their campaigns are not only bi-lingual, they are bi-cultural as well.
Fernanda says, “We are trying to change the way that typical Latins are portrayed in mass-market advertising campaigns. We are not all the same, and there aren’t a lot of brands that successfully speak to the Hispanic consumer.”
The atmosphere at Chamoy Creative is lively, and it is very evident that everyone loves what they do and respects one another. The sisters have created an inclusive environment where everyone on the team is valued. They work very hard to create campaigns for their clients that aren’t just secondary marketing plans to their English language advertising but complete stand-alone campaigns that will achieve results, making their target audiences feel seen and heard by bringing messages that relate to each market’s individual and unique character and culture.
147 E Mistletoe Ave, San Antonio, TX 78212