For a road-based state like New Jersey, potholes can be a driver’s worst nightmare. That’s where Tathiana Carrasco comes in. Fed up with seeing the same locations riddled with unrepaired and reemerging potholes, Carrasco set out to fill those pesky holes once and for all.
“While working for BMW, I was surprised by the number of claims being made for damaged wheels and tires. I looked into the causes a bit further and came to realize how big of a problem potholes are,” Carrasco said.
While doing a bit of investigative work, she noticed the same locations popping up over and over again on the claims she processed, and an idea sparked to remedy those potholes with some actual finality. This was the genesis for her business Appliqué Technologies International.
With a patent-pending special material for pothole repair that is heated on the spot and compacted, Appliqué sets out to fill potholes once and only once. Their brand of filling is reinforced with ballistic fibers and two types of waxes – the fibers act as reinforcement agents while the waxes melt to create a permanent bond with the bottom of the pothole.
“I wanted to address an old problem in a new way, one that worked and made sense for all involved,” she said.
Going against the established method of things can be both a tricky and time-draining pursuit. And for a nascent business owner, time was one thing Carrasco couldn’t afford.
“In a business like this, it takes time to change the way people do things. The longer it takes to convince a market that you have something they should consider, the longer you have to fund the business. People often greatly underestimate this aspect of starting a business.”
As a Latina entrepreneur, Carrasco already stuck out in a male-dominated field, but this also allowed her to pave out a unique spot for herself in the marketplace.
“I think to be an entrepreneur, especially a woman Latina, you need to be both aware of the opportunities and ignorant of the challenges. In my case, I am a woman running a business in an industry dominated by men.”
That alternative perspective has helped Appliqué rise above its many competitors and allowed it to tackle New Jersey’s potholes through an experimentation process that challenges the status quo of her industry.
“We are innovators and strive to bring new and beneficial materials and equipment to those who take care of our roads. [Manufacturing both our materials and equipment] allows us to optimize the way one works with the other.”
Carrasco notes there are 565 New Jersey municipalities she wishes to serve and repair roads for, hoping to perfect Appliqué’s technique before rushing it out to a wider market. Because at the end of the day, customer satisfaction is what matters most to Carrasco.
“I love the challenge as well as the satisfaction of seeing something grow from a concept to a reality. Then to see people actually validate our ideas by spending hard-earned money on our solutions is very gratifying.”