Names: Alysis Vasquez & Perla Peralta
Business/Location: Midnight Market/Jersey City & New York City
Specialty: 21+ Foodie Festival
What’s your business story?: In 2016, we noticed that Jersey City was in need of a fun nightlife event for those age 21+. We came up with the idea to host a night market that focuses on the hottest trends in the foodie scene. It was important to us to make this an event that is open to the Jersey City community as a whole. To do that, we focused on affordability for our food vendors as well as the guests. The event features 20 food vendors, a DJ, and a bar serving happy hour prices all night. The event became an instant success, and since then, we've expanded to New York City and other New Jersey locations on a monthly basis.
What’s your personal story?: Perla and Alysis met back in 2008, working as waitresses at IHOP in central New Jersey. The two became best friends. And when Alysis came up with the idea for Midnight Market, Perla was the first person she shared it with. Perla was instantly excited by the idea and built upon it. And since 2016, the two have been best friends, business partners, and roommates!
How did you decide the time was right to start your business?: The idea itself was born out of a need Alysis and Perla saw in the community. At the time, there was a new influx of people moving into Jersey City from New York City. It was the perfect time to create a space where the community can come together, support small business, get to know the "new neighbors," and just do something fun.
How did you decide to go into business together? What qualities, skills, etc. does each bring to the business?: Alysis has been in the restaurant industry for 16 years, so she had that part of the business on lock. Perla studied social media/marketing in college, and, at the time, she was working for a local Jersey City developer. She had a direct line to new residents and how to market to them. Additionally, she and Alysis had been friends for quite some time. They knew that they had similar work ethics and complemented each other well.
What is the hardest part about starting a company with your best friend?: Keeping communication straightforward and clear is the trickiest part. Especially, when it comes to finances and the overall vision for the company. It's easy to assume you and your partner are on the same page. It's wonderful if you are, but it's better to be specific and open about everything to avoid unnecessary issues and miscommunication.
What is the most rewarding part about running a business together? What do you love most about being in business with a loved one?: It's the best! Who better to celebrate successes (and the failures that turn into successes) with than someone who has seen your journey from day one? Additionally, you've seen their journey. It just magnifies all of the blessings and hard work.
What challenges have you faced as a team; how are you working to overcome those challenges?: We haven't had any major challenges! Fortunately, we vision match pretty intensely. The most challenging issue is not related to the business. When your life is so involved with your business, tending to the friendship takes a back seat sometimes. It's important to remember that you started as friends, and you should be friends regardless.
How has your close relationship has helped your business grow?: We've literally had people attend the market because they've seen us on Instagram and identified with our friendship, chemistry, and figured we'd throw a great party.... which we do!