Today we’d like to introduce you to Ana Karen Sanchez Ocampo.
Ana Karen, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
Hi! I am honored to share my story today with you all! My name is Ana Karen Sanchez-Ocampo, I was born in the state of Estado de Mexico, Mexico. My family and I sacrificed everything when we immigrated to Saint Paul, Minnesota in 2000, where I was raised and have called home ever since. For as long as I could remember I’ve always been a huge dreamer and enthusiastic about learning and achieving dreams that my parents, grandparents and ancestors could only dream of. My hardworking parents taught me at a young age that everything in life is possible as long as I am willing to put in the work. I started working at 14 to help my single mother make ends meet, unfortunately putting my education aside but despite it all my teachers saw my dreams of going to college and were extremely supportive even with being a dreamer.
As a marginalized woman of color, we have to work twice as hard to reach our goals due to the barriers that we may face such as coming from a low-income family, first-generation student, lack or resources, mentors, mental health issues, affordable housing and more. Nonetheless, I graduated in 2014 from Washington Technology Magnet school, And immediately went to work in healthcare and attended Saint Paul College. Tuition was out of pocket that is when I decided to start a small business to help me pay for my education. My business has watched me grow and has supported me throughout my academic journey behind closed doors and I am immensely grateful for everyone that has continued to show me love and support.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I would be lying if I said that this journey has been easy. Juggling working in healthcare, college and running a business is difficult but nothing that I wasn’t willing to sacrifice for. When the pandemic started, I got burned out along with many more healthcare workers and that is when I was able to step up and dedicate more time to my business. To be able to stay home, study and prioritize my mental health while doing something that I love has been a blessing to me. Mental health is something that I take very serious as that is what I am in school for. Since I started my business in 2015, I have graduated from Saint Paul community college. This year I will finally obtain my bachelor’s in Psychology and Sociology with honors. I plan to further my education and become a clinical social worker to be able to help marginalized families to reach their goals and thrive in life despite the challenges that we may face.
We’ve been impressed with Ana’s Sweettooth, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
My business goes by Ana’s Sweettooth, I specialize in gourmet chocolate covered strawberries, baking and treat making. I offer over 20 toppings, themes and a wide variety of desserts like 3 leches cake jars and full pans, dipped pretzels, Oreos, cake pops and more. I take pride in offering gluten free, vegan and sugar free options as well for all diets. I have 7 years of experience and I absolutely love what I do! Whether you need a dessert for a special occasion or simply to cure your sweet tooth, I am your girl!
We’d love to hear about how you think about risk taking?
Imposter syndrome is something that takes a toll on me from time to time but the more my vision becomes clear, the more inspired I get to keep going. At first, I was terrified to go unknowingly for my dreams and step out of my comfort zone. Even when I failed, I was proud of myself for trying and gaining knowledge on how to do things better the 2nd time around. My grandfather used to say “Life is tough Mija, but so are you” and I truly live by that.
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/anassweetooth
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/anassweettooth