Marcia Tiago

illustration depicting a Miami-based female tech entrepreneur Marcia Tiago, capturing the vibrant and stylish essence of Miami.

Founder, Alaska Inc.

Marcia Tiago is a visionary entrepreneur and project manager whose career spans over two decades, primarily in the private sector. Born and raised in Brazil, Marcia’s journey in the world of business began after completing her degree in Business Administration in her home country. Her ambition and business acumen led her to a pivotal role at Cummings Diesel Engine, an international heavy machinery company, where she initially played an integral role in their Brazilian operations before transitioning to their regional headquarters in Miami, Florida. In Miami, she expanded her expertise, working in the marketing department for five years and furthering her education with a Master’s degree in business.

In 2005, Marcia’s entrepreneurial spirit took center stage when she, alongside her husband, launched Alaska Inc., originally a DVD and CD wholesaler. Demonstrating an acute awareness of market trends and consumer preferences, she strategically pivoted the business towards cell phone and accessory wholesaling in response to evolving digital media consumption habits.

Beyond her business endeavors, Marcia is deeply committed to social responsibility. She dedicates significant time to volunteering with the Just Love Foundation, a non-profit organization focused on providing aid to orphaned children in Africa. This commitment reflects her belief in the power of businesses to make a positive impact on society.

Marcia Tiago’s career is a testament to her adaptability, foresight, and dedication. Residing in Miami, she continues to lead and innovate in her field, embodying the qualities of a modern, dynamic business leader who is as socially conscious as she is professionally adept.

How did you get started in this business?

I started in the business world right after completing my degree in Business Administration in Brazil. My initial role at Cummings Diesel Engine provided me with a robust foundation in the corporate world. The transition to the Miami office was pivotal, as it exposed me to a diverse business culture and expanded my marketing expertise. My entrepreneurial journey began with the establishment of Alaska Inc., a venture my husband and I thoughtfully conceived, aiming to create a unique footprint in the wholesale market.

How do you make money?

Alaska Inc. generates its revenue primarily through the wholesale of cell phones and accessories. We began as a DVD and CD wholesaler, but adapting to the evolving market, we shifted our focus. Our profit model is based on buying products in bulk at competitive prices and then distributing them to retailers across Latin America. Maintaining a balance between competitive pricing and quality products has been key to our financial success.

How long did it take for you to become profitable?

It took us approximately two years to become profitable. The initial phase involved substantial investment in inventory and establishing supply chains. We faced the typical challenges of a startup, but our persistence paid off. Gradually, as our customer base expanded and our market understanding deepened, we started seeing significant profits.

When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?

Absolutely, there were moments of doubt, especially in the initial stages. The shift from DVDs and CDs to cell phone accessories was a risky move. However, I believed in the power of adaptability and market research. Whenever doubts crept in, I focused on our long-term vision and the potential of the evolving market, which helped me stay the course.

How did you get your first customer?

Our first customer came through a combination of diligent market research and networking. We identified potential clients who could benefit from our products and reached out to them with tailored proposals. Our first major sale was a result of persistence, presenting our value proposition clearly, and understanding our client’s needs.

What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?

One effective marketing strategy we’ve employed is digital marketing, particularly through social media. We create engaging content that not only showcases our products but also educates our audience about the latest trends in mobile technology. This approach has helped us reach a broader audience and establish a strong online presence, attracting new customers.

What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?

The toughest decision recently was to expand our product line to include more technologically advanced accessories. This required a significant investment and a shift in our marketing strategy. It was a risk, but one that was necessary to keep our business relevant and competitive in the rapidly evolving tech market.

What do you think it is that makes you successful?

I believe adaptability, continuous learning, and a deep understanding of our customers’ needs are the keys to my success. Staying attuned to market changes and being willing to evolve have helped me navigate the complexities of the business world. Also, building a reliable team and fostering a culture of innovation have been instrumental.

What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

The most satisfying moment was seeing our revamped product line being well-received in the market after shifting from DVDs and CDs to cell phone accessories. It validated our strategic decision and demonstrated our ability to adapt and thrive amidst market changes. Witnessing the tangible results of our team’s hard work and dedication was incredibly fulfilling.

What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?

The future for Alaska Inc. is bright. We are exploring further expansion into emerging markets and integrating more sustainable practices into our business model. I’m most excited about the potential of incorporating eco-friendly products and practices, aligning our business operations with environmental sustainability.

What business books have inspired you?

One book that has significantly influenced me is ‘Lean In’ by Sheryl Sandberg. It offers profound insights into leadership, especially for women in the business world. 

What advice would you give to your younger self?

I would tell my younger self to trust her instincts more and not be afraid to take calculated risks. I’d also emphasize the importance of patience and perseverance in business. Understanding that success doesn’t come overnight and that every challenge is an opportunity to learn and grow is crucial.

Are you willing to be a mentor? If so, how should someone contact you?

Absolutely, I am open to mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs, especially those venturing into the tech and wholesale sectors. Interested individuals can contact me through LinkedIn or via email, both of which are available on Alaska Inc.’s website.

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