Luis (Brutis) Baez
Luis Baez has always been an artist, selling CDs from his truck for $10 a piece. As streaming services began to replace the CD industry, Luis had to be creative and flexible, adapting his business to focus on selling powwow music, as it was an untapped treasure on music apps.
However, he knew he needed more to keep his business afloat. He talked to WSCAT staff, who encouraged him to open an IDA account, which he opened in 2018 to support his business: Luis Baez Audio and Visual Productions. The IDA program and support from WSCAT staff paved a clearer path for his business success and self-sufficiency. Luis stated: “When Ka-Nee-Ta closed, and then the mill followed, I noticed we had all of these losses of jobs on the rez. I never knew if my job would be next. I realized I needed to dive more into my passions and start a small business to be confident I would always have an income. As I put more time into the class, and with the help of Dustin and WSCAT, I was able to create my own business plan. They went beyond that to show me how to build my credit and understand how to itemize my costs to be efficient in running my business.”
As the pandemic hit and the nation’s small businesses closed down, Luis experienced his own share of problems, but was able to open a second IDA account in 2020 to assist in buying equipment for archival productions, such as drone video footage. Luis adapted and used his creativity to continue to shine, even during the darkest parts of the pandemic.
As of August 2021, he is running his business full-time. His clients range from real estate companies to foundations. He gets to show people what’s happening in the community, like the water crisis.
Luis’s advice for those thinking of joining the IDA program: “Do it! You have nothing to lose.”