Lighting of Tomorrow is a family-owned business in Oakland Park. It was co-founded on June 15th, 2016 by Rosa Vicent and her husband Anderson Zapata. They sell and install LED lighting services for both residential and commercial properties. While they have experienced great success it wasn’t all smooth sailing from the get-go, even though they make it look like it was, they faced challenges on from the get-go and built a successful business from the ground up.
They decided to start their own business because Zapata was working for an LED company. Zapata would come home every night from work really excited about the work he was doing and he shared this with Vicent. This excitement coupled with the their shared a passion for green living led them to think : why don’t we open our own company?
Without a moment’s hesitation they started researching the business. After a few months of research they decided to take the plunge and go all in. They took money out from their credit cards and quit their jobs.
“It was a huge risk because we were using our credit cards to fund something were were not sure was going to succeed. So that was definitely hard”.
Vicent shares honestly when speaking of one of their first challenges as a new business. Having overcome this challenge they faced others as they began to break into this industry as newcomers.
Proving Themselves in the Industry
According to Vicent the LED industry is a tightly knit industry that was hard to break into as newcomers. When she and Zapata first started manufacturers did not want to sell to them. They were still working out of their apartment and were often asked “Where is your office?” and “What company are you?“. It was hard getting manufacturers to take them seriously, but they persisted.
Vicent networked like crazy from Miami-Dade to Palm Beach and soon began to get projects. They worked on one project at at time and slowly began proving themselves. They started lighting up barber shops and then got their first big job with Benvenuto Restaurant and Banquet Hall. That project in their first year of business and was a great addition to their portfolio according to Vicent. They made it look easy but even Vicent had to get down and dirty and dig ditches to make sure the job was finished successfully. In her IG post that day she shared her commitment to success:
“We did it one project at a time, not giving up, lots of “No’s” and then when we got a yes we would come through 100% for the client, just one after another, after another“. And the fruits of their success became apparent when manufacturers started taking notice and decided to give them a chance.
Initially the manufacturers did not afford them favorable trade terms but as they slowly proved themselves they earned the terms : “After many orders they started seeing us as the real deal” Vicent conveyed.
But as they overcame this challenge, they faced yet another challenge.
Overcoming Challenges in a Male Dominated Industry
At the time of starting the LED business, Vicent was a paralegal. She had knowledge and background on how to start a business but was unaware of the challenges she would face in the male dominated world of LED lighting. Vicent relates that in business meetings her male counterparts would ignore her addressing only her husband.
Not to be deterred by any prejudice or disdain she faced Vicent pushed forward determined to learn everything she could about the business. Proud of his wife, Zapata has supported her every step of the way. According to Vicent these challenges have helped her discover her courage and show her how capable she is of overcoming challenges. As a result, she has shown anyone that has doubted her ability that she is capable and knowledgeable at that she can handle anything they throw her way.
Her persistence and tenacity are evident in a recent Facebook post she shared:
Triumphing in a Competitive Industry
Despite the many challenges Vicent and Zapata have faced Lighting of Tomorrow continues to grow in the world of LED lighting. Each day comes with its unique challenges but Vicent recognizes that each challenge they face is a chance for them to grow and triumph. When she takes on a job and things get rough along the way she reminds herself:
“I took on this job, I am coming through no matter what, you gotta just do what it takes… you want to be an entrepreneur, well roll up your sleeves girl because it is not going to be easy“.
This can-do attitude has been the cornerstone of Lighting of Tomorrow’s continued success.
Growing In And With Oakland Park
Vicent and Zapata chose Oakland Park because they have been residents for over 6 years. They have witnessed the growth in Oakland Park and alongside the City have grown their business. And Lighting of Tomorrow has not gone unrecognized by the City. On December 4, 2019 they were recognized by the City and awarded the Proud to be Oakland Park award (P2BOP).
Before receiving the award Vicent shared with the City Commission and the public that was present the following :
“We not only live in Oakland Park, we own our business her and our business is a very exciting one. We facilitate the switch to efficient lighting… we not only sell the products but we install them as well… we make sure the client is taking advantage of energy efficient products and reducing their carbon footprint… our mission and goal is to create a sustainable planet for our future generations…”
Since being awarded the P2BOP award Rosa has begun Oakland Park’s Local Government Academy. On her Facebook page she shares :
“Super excited to be part of the Local Government Academy class of 2020 in my City of Oakland Park.
We must get involved with our community, our government. We must use our voices not to complain but to educate ourselves and put in the work to make our community safer, better, cleaner and more beautiful! “
It is clear Vicent is blazing a trail for herself as prominent business woman in Oakland Park. As she does, keep your eyes out because we will see a lot more of her and Lighting of Tomorrow in Oakland Park as they continue to grow.
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About the Author
Désirée Ávila has called Oakland Park her home for almost 33 years. In addition to publishing LivingInOaklandPark.com, Désirée publishes three other blogs and has been featured in print publications, locally and abroad. Désirée was an award winning teacher for 10 years and has a doctoral level education in Educational Technology. She is currently a licensed Florida Realtor® and is committed to a high-level of professionalism. Désirée consistently professionally develops herself and has earned several different professional designations in real estate. She is esteemed by her real estate colleagues and has consistently received 5 star reviews from her clients. She helps clients in Oakland Park and throughout South Florida with their real estate endeavors. Désirée is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, French and Italian.
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