Growing up you may have played UNO, Monopoly, Bingo or loteria with friends and family then the digital economy took over – mobile games, video gaming (check out Latinas in gaming), and virtual gaming communities. Classic ‘retro’ party games are a fun pastime and surprisingly made a huge comeback during the coronavirus pandemic. One such party game that made it on our radar, is Tragos. A party game made by Latinos for Latinos, Tragos hit $1 million in revenue in two years proving that Latinx are an unmet market and seek products that resonate with us. The Latina founder of Tragos, Carolina Acosta and her team created Tragos out of inspiration and not seeing anything in the market that spoke to them culturally.
Learn more about Carolina and her entrepreneurial journey and of the hilarious party game invented for your squad!
BoldLatina: What is Tragos Game? What inspired you to create it? How can our audience access the game?
Carolina: Tragos is a drinking card game, created for Latinos to embrace, laugh, and bond over their culture. The idea of a cultural drinking game came from my friend, and I immediately fell in love with the concept. At the time, I had just come back from living in South America for four months and I was craving a stronger connection to my roots, something I never really felt growing up in the US. Realizing that there was nothing like Tragos on the market made me all the more excited to try it out, mainly because I wanted to play myself and was hopeful that others with a dual identity like me would want to as well. The idea of having a physical game was also exciting because of my existing love for tabletop games and it tied in perfectly with the nostalgic topics of Tragos, like growing up in a Latino household.
My team and I continue to be inspired by la cultura and I have since then released the Spanish version of the Tragos Original game, 3 expansion packs, including several digital games, and I am excited to let you and your audience know that I will be releasing a new non-drinking, family friendly game really soon called Get Loud! You can find all our games on our site tragosgame.com, on Amazon, and now on walmart.com! You can sign up for email list on our website to find about new launches, events, and more!
BoldLatina: What experiences / challenges have you faced as a Latina entrepreneur? How did you get to where you are today?
Carolina: This entire journey has been full of learning curves and several mistakes along the way. I would say it was mostly to do with not having any business experience and thinking I could do it all (most of it) on my own, a trait I probably developed from my mother. I was trying to run a business as the head of an organization, not knowing where I was going and leaning on others with less experience than me to help me make huge decisions. It’s been difficult facing all my mistakes, especially because Tragos has seen almost overnight success and to risk it because of my mistakes has been very eye-opening and honestly, scary. It’s like okay, what do I do now that everything isn’t running smoothly? It’s the ultimate test.
It took a long time, until very recently actually, to realize that there is a bigger world full of supportive people (including other Latina entrepreneurs) that are willing to help. Identifying as a Latina entrepreneur hasn’t come naturally because identifying as just a Latina is also fairly new to me. However, the more I embrace the role, the more I understand it is a strength, despite the bias out there.
BoldLatina: What are your thoughts on Latinx representation within the toy and games industry? How are you making space for the Latinx community?
Carolina: There is very minimal representation of any BIPOC community within the toys and games industry. In this world where almost every industry is craving diversity or at least being demanded to have it, now is the time to seize this opportunity, not just for Tragos but for so many toys and games that are yet to be created. I believe there is also a huge space for Latinx entrepreneurs to share their creations and products on social media, without waiting or relying on buyers or publishers to “approve” their games. This opens the doors to an audience that is underrepresented and desiring products like these – something that wouldn’t have been possible a couple of years ago.
BoldLatina: How do you balance work life with self care?
Carolina: It is a struggle! Luckily I have a strong network of close family and friends that keep me grounded and remind me to take time to share with them. I also try to focus a lot on my nutrition and eat as balanced as possible. Balancing my nutrition helps me stay focused and energized to go out and do more than just work. As for work itself, I track my time and plan out the day before starting so I don’t overwork or get distracted with context switching. The #1 thing I’m still attempting to do is delegate better but to do so I’m also figuring out my team structure and looking for people who are more experienced than I am so I’m not constantly exhausting my brain all day!
BoldLatina: What major successes have you made throughout your career, and specifically with Tragos Game?
Carolina: The first major success that comes to mind is being in the 2021 Forbes 30 Under 30 list! My favorite part of being on the list is the community it has given me. I hope that expanding my network helps me grow faster as an entrepreneur and individual, something I really need to catch up on after the quiet year of quarantine.
With Tragos, the entire journey has felt like a major success from the beginning when we went from 10 orders a day to 5,000 in one week. It felt unreal and while even that success was stressful at the time, I’m grateful because it is what launched us into the world (mainly through word of mouth) and what led me to take on this career full time.
Lastly, we recently had a partnership with Chispa, the dating app for Latinos. Being a part of something bigger than just your brand always feels like a major success because it goes to show that there are other brands/people that believe in and love what you’re doing. It makes you all the more excited to keep going and think, what more can we accomplish?
BoldLatina: What are you as the Latina founder of Tragos personally looking forward to with the brand you built? Are there any future projects you have lined up?
Carolina: I’m personally looking forward to building a brand that has a voice within the Latinx community. Tragos isn’t just a drinking game, it’s a conversation starter, an ice breaker, and a chance to dive into topics that we may or may not be comfortable with having (i.e. Latino stereotypes). I think there is a great opportunity for Tragos to expand internationally and continue the mission of uniting different subcultures within the Latinx community and help the same community through social impact. With a bigger presence, even just in the US, we could do so much to support non-profit organizations, and develop more jobs, and entrepreneurial opportunities within the Latinx products and tabletop games space.
Our new game, Get Loud, is a guessing word game that has several cultural references. Similar to Tragos, it’s meant to embrace the culture, except this time through a more competitive angle, where teams try to guess as many words in rounds of one minute. What makes the game also special is that it is entirely bilingual so people can play in families or even in classrooms to improve their English or Spanish, or play in Spanglish (the way most of us already do). With Get Loud, we’re hopeful in showing our capabilities as game makers and continuing to build community through a family-friendly game.
BoldLatina: What do you believe our Latina/x community challenges are right now?
Carolina: I feel that right now our Latinx community faces challenges with work opportunities and unity and oftentimes these challenges go hand-in-hand. Latinos and Black American workers have made up a significant portion of job losses due to the pandemic. I feel that the bias and racism towards our people contributes to the lack of work opportunities. The divide between Latinos is also a major obstacle that is apparent in the media and even in our own families. As someone that is of Dominican and Colombian descent, this is something that I tried to to remove with Tragos, by focusing not on our differences from country to country, but by focusing on the similarities that unite us, especially in the US. If there was more support, empowerment and unity within our own communities, the strength in numbers could demand better treatment in the workforce, education system, and in life in general.
BoldLatina: If you could change one thing about the world today that would make it better for women, especially women of color/Latina/x/Black Women, what would it be?
Carolina: Equal pay! The more I learn about how much less Latinas and Black women get paid, the more shocked I am. I think it’s a big learning curve for anyone that doesn’t even know their role’s standard pay; and a bias that should be eliminated entirely. That said, I would also use this disadvantage to take advantage of another fact – Latinos and BIPOC businesses in general are growing, and at a faster rate than ever. We should support both workforce changes and entrepreneurial actions for our fellow women of color in any industry.
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BoldLatina: What, in your opinion, makes someone a BoldLatina?
Carolina: I’ve met so many bold Latinas that I would say the main trait is having a strong, unapologetic voice. Being able to voice your opinions, in a respectful way, makes you bold, period. Being a Latina and able to have that voice makes you powerful. It pushes the boundaries of what any non-Latino has ever told us or enforced upon us. It breaks the “calladita, más bonita” stereotype and challenges any status quo or expectations anyone has of Latinas.
BoldLatina: Any advice for other BoldLatinas out there you would like to share?
Carolina: Be you and get out there! Something I’ve learned or been reminded of recently is that my story wanted to be heard because it inspires people and our mission is all about uniting and helping. Being shy and not taking the opportunity to go out and show who I am has only set me back. I believe being authentic, showing support to the ones that show it back to you, and connecting with others socially is part of the journey to success just as much as education, your sales, or other more general metrics of business development.
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