Walking in Ana Bermudez’s shoes

By Julio Lara | February 2016

Ana Bermudez’s recent climb in the t-commerce world is nothing short of spectacular.

There are deals being closed, as we speak, with a couple of major partners that will make her company, Get TAGit, the premier shopping experience for television viewers.

And before the meetings with corporate executives, Bermudez’s climb to the top involved pilling up the accolades at start up competitions and building ridiculous momentum for her TAGit mobile application.

And even before that particular spotlight, there was Bermudez tossing aside a financially rewarding job in a company she helped found for the roller coaster ride that is the life of a true entrepreneur.

All of these milestones are admirable and praise-worthy, no doubt.

But to truly try and understand why Bermudez is on the brink of making a huge name for herself with Get TAGit in the t-commerce scene and surpassing her competitors, you have to walk a mile in her shoes. Because, when you put those on and retrace her steps as a first-generation Latino American growing up in the tough neighborhoods of San Diego, you can better comprehend and admire her meteoric rise — one that is fueled by courage, tenacity and a “why-not-me?” attitude.

But seriously, yes, the shoes are important.

tagitGet TAGit™ Inc. was founded nearly two years ago by Bermudez when, after another 15-hour workday at AWM Global Advisors (where she served as the company’s first Chief Financial Officer) she stumbled across a set of women’s shoes on television she just had to have. And if you ask Bermudez, that feeling is one that happens to her a whole lot when it comes to shoes.

“There was nothing else on my mind other than who designed the shoes? Where could I find the shoes? What was the location closest to me?” Bermudez said.

It’s from there that after a couple of Google searches and stumbling upon a world of women who were driven by a similar obsession for footwear and the actresses who rock it, that Bermudez decided that there was no better time to make the leap into entrepreneurship and provide a service that makes life easier for consumers like her. “That’s when the light bulb went off,” Bermudez said. “I put myself in the consumer’s shoes and I realized I could begin a viable business in satisfying a TV viewer’s desire for products on TV shows,” Bermudez said.

As it stands, Get TAGit is a tech startup that created a mobile app to deliver products from a TV viewer’s favorite shows. It is a social-registry for discovering, “favoriting,” buying or gifting products straight from the scenes of a favorite television shows. When a viewer sees a product she or he likes in the app’s product streams, she or he simply uses TAGit™ to show they like it, or they can BUYit™ right then and there.

With nothing but a great idea, sheer determination and an appetite to learn everything about her industry, Bermudez stepped into the shoes of an entrepreneur tightrope walker with nary a safety net below her to catch a potential fall.

“As far back as the 6th grade, I’ve had this feeling of ‘why not me? Why can’t I?’” Bermudez said. “I would see people succeed and think they’re not any different from me. The only difference was that they were actually doing it and I wasn’t. It’s just an attitude that if you don’t do it, you’re never going to really ever reach your full potential.”

Bermudez knows a whole lot about running past and surpassing low expectations. As the eldest of six, she recalls her mother cramming her and three of her siblings into a single bedroom of her grandparents’ house. “I remember being young and thinking ‘I don’t want to live like this for the rest of my life,’” Bermudez said. “There was a lot of chaos growing up and I remember thinking I wanted my own room. So yes, that’s where it all started for me.”

Bermudez transformed that yearning into a degree from the University of Notre Dame. When she returned to San Diego, she was off establishing a new and successful point of reference for her five siblings by joining a prestigious financial firm and then branching off into her work founding AWM.

“I really believe anyone can do this,” Bermudez said when asked where the courage to traverse the always-competitive and often brutal world of lone entrepreneurship comes from. “I am a pessimist by nature. But I like to surround myself with positive people and keep them in my network. Everyday, the sun can be shining, and I’d still find a reason to worry or think of the worst case scenario.”

TAGitSo far, there haven’t been too many worst-case-scenario instances for Bermudez. Her list of accomplishments are amazing and only continue to grow. She’s won the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Technology Entrepreneurship Award, Hera Labs Fast Pitch Competition First Place & Audience Choice Award, Tech Coast Angels Quick Pitch Best Presentation Award, FundingPost Roundtable San Diego Pitch & Audience Choice Award, and the University of Notre Dame McCloskey Business Plan Competition – Round 2. Bermudez and TAGit has also been selected to participate in the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative, as well as the Startup Leadership Program.

And within her success in t-commerce, Bermudez has managed to give back by volunteering her time mentoring youth in her hometown through her work with the San Diego High School Foundation and her passion for being a great “AUNTrepreneur” — an aunt to two and an entrepreneur.

“I have come to learn so much as an entrepreneur about just how much of an impact it is to have the community believe in you,” Bermudez said. “They’re what encourages you and gives you the momentum to propel you as an entrepreneur. I do believe people can relate to the struggles we had growing up so I find comfort in sharing my story if it helps somebody out there do something they’re truly passionate about.”

“One message is always constant,” Bermudez said about her work mentoring the next wave of Latino entrepreneur, “and that is, that anybody can do. It’s just you fighting yourself mentally against the self doubt you have. It’s about using your resources and breaking down those negative barriers. Because it’s impossible to stop a mind that won’t quit. That is how revolution happens.”

A revolution that happens one step at a time.

 

About the LAM Latino entrepreneurial series:

LAM is partnering with Latino Startup Alliance to showcase  a series of twelve Latino Entrepreneurs in the next few months. The Latino Entrepreneur Series is presented by Verizon Wireless and written by LAM member and journalist Julio Lara.