Stories in Entrepreneurship

Rose Luciano

Community Facilitator

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Rose Luciano is a Lancaster native proudly born in the Southeast sector of the city and raised in Ephrata, Pennsylvania. As a member of the Latino Community, she spent a lifetime witnessing the need for collaboration and empowerment. Rose believes we all have a purpose, but often times opportunities are denied to some of our brightest minds and creators. Inspired by the potential in her community, she made it her life’s mission to devote herself to the needs of the underrepresented. She spends her time motivating every artist, entrepreneur, and community member to realize their full potential, even within the most marginalized parts of society. Through this, her mission has planted seeds to actualize the change needed in society. When we deal with the difficult conversations on issues such as diversity and inclusion, we have the opportunity to learn and become better citizens. We learn how to help and support one another to be the brightest version of themselves. This is Fruition Collective. Fruition Collective provides a platform to listen, learn, and amplify the voices of this community by being vulnerable and authentic. It is a brave space to enjoy art, activism, comedy, culture, and above all, community.

The Fruition Collective is comprised of an artistic team of various backgrounds and strengths. Each member has been raised in Central Pennsylvania and understands the unique needs of this community. Together, the Fruition team raises the standards for inclusive collaborations within our city. They create programs that challenge normative social beliefs and attitudes; inspiring and empowering them to bridge divides in the city and build community.

Tell me about Fruition Collective. 

Fruition Collective is literally me, open from the inside out. Through working with Anne Kirby at the Candy Factory, she challenged me and taught me from nothing graphic design and marketing. My expertise has always been community building and outreach. With that background, I learned how much of an entrepreneur I am at heart, with the encouragement of Anne, I set out with my backpack and no office, I went back to co-working at The Candy Factory. Within a week, I learned of the space at 24 West Walnut Street. I took over the lease; I had blue hair at the time, but I told the landlord that “I have blue hair, but it doesn't mean I don’t mean business.” 

The landlord accepted my concept of a collective art space. I worked with an art student and wrote a business plan overnight. Our vision is to “amplify and celebrate authentic community” and that’s how Fruition Collective came to be. About 6 artists per day reach out to me for resources. There’s so much need and you just never know what’s going to happen each day. 

I operate by 5 core values: collaboration, community, vulnerability, authenticity, amplification. 

How did you become an entrepreneur? 

All of my life made me an entrepreneur. When I was 13 years old, we went to a beach and my cousins and I gathered shells. At the edge of the boardwalk we sold the shells. My dad encouraged me with ventures like that, like lemonade stands. 

I joined the Girls Scouts. They taught me a lot. I had children very young. I was 17 and pregnant and had two kids back to back. It was too expensive to put my children in daycare, so I watched friends’ children to pay the bills. I didn’t realize that I was being an entrepreneur. I was running a business without knowing it. 

After that, a friend and I decided to make great food to sell over lunches to blue-collar factory workers. We always broke even; we put a lot of energy into it, but after two years we stopped. It was fun. 

Then I went into the salon business and started facilitating community. Through Sacred Heart School, I started volunteering, which lead to a job there. And then I met Anne Kirby, who saw how much I worked and she offered me a position with her team, part-time to start, and I also worked at Tellus, where I met a lot of people. I saw that there was a disconnect within the community between artists and the underserved and unheard community in Lancaster. I have always been an entrepreneur at heart. 

I’m 100% Puerto Rican, being downtown and working, I barely saw people who were like me around me, so I’m working to bridge that disconnect. 

What is your vision for the future of your company? Of your community?

I wanted something that I felt was beautiful and what we deserved. There’s a lot of underground music, art, and misunderstood community that is hidden in the dark. I wanted to bring it to light, to fruition. That’s why I wanted to be downtown with windows and access to the elements. It’s not hidden and we can celebrate. If people don’t understand the creativity, here you can ask the questions and have the conversations that you can't have anywhere else. We are all so different, but very much the same. 

A lot of our differences come from fear and a lack of understanding. Some of these very different people have the same aims, even though they have different struggles. What we often have in common is the amount of energy that we are putting into reaching our goals. 

My dream for Fruition Collective is to become the creative, institutional hub in downtown Lancaster: a place synonymous with our city's urban landscape. Drawing and attracting diverse talent in Lancaster City also attracts the most diverse audiences, enriching our city culture.  Fruition Collective and its sponsors aspire to build vitality and culture within the city limits. Its presence alone changes the way young Lancastrian's view the world, giving them a profound perspective on what constitutes a just community.

We want to be the template that others will look to for social change through artistry!

What has been the biggest challenge to creating a new venture?

I knew there was a need, but I didn’t know that there was such a huge need. In entrepreneurship, they don’t teach you that you have to have a foundation in banking, numbers, etc. I just wanted to create a space for me to do my work, and the demand is so great that I can’t keep up with what’s needed. It’s hard for me to say “no, we can’t do that because we aren’t ready.” Creativity, storytelling, programming is very natural to me, but there’s a lot of administration that goes into running a business. 

I proved the concept in December and our grand opening was in March. Within a month we had 1,500 followers on Facebook and I didn’t know what to do with that. I didn’t expect such a great demand. 

I didn’t realize the disconnect was so deep for our community - for artists and between cultures. Lancaster is growing so fast and evolving and I feel like we aren’t listening to everyone always. I didn’t want my community to stay behind, so this space gives us a place to have the conversations so no one is left behind. It helps Lancaster to represent everyone, not just one side. 

What advice would you give to an earlier version of yourself?

Total affirmation. My self-talk would have been “you’re great, you’re strong, you’re smart. You can do this.” 

When I was younger, I never thought that I could be a business owner. I didn’t think it was in the cards for me...but it’s all I wanted: building community. 

Tell me about your biggest surprise or lesson learned as an entrepreneur?

The biggest surprise is that it is not as beautiful as everyone says it is. It’s really hard to be an entrepreneur. You have to have thick skin. You have to be able to problem solve. You have to be able to get up when you don’t want to get up. It’s not as pretty as everyone thinks it is. 

What question did I miss? What else should I know about you? 

People need to understand that I’m not in this to become rich. I’m in this because this is my journey. I am supposed to be doing this. I don’t always know why, but that will come when it’s supposed to come; Fruition truly is supposed to be here to serve and I will serve any community that comes in the door. I’m a connector. 

11/28/17

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