“Real Women, Real Work” is a Darling series about everyday women who work in various fields including business, entertainment, science and education. We want to get to know the WHY behind their WHAT and get an inside look into different industries.
At the start of 2020, sisters and business partners Melissa and Stephanie Carcache decided on a mantra: “Remember your fighting spirit.” Little did they do how necessary this reminder would be for the year to come. Born and raised in Miami, FL to Cuban parents, Melissa and Stephanie Carcache lead multimedia company Millennial Women, Inc., which focuses on curating resourceful and inspirational content for millennial women. Amidst the obstacles of 2020, the demand for inspiring, hopeful and relatable content from their global community has never been greater.
At the center of the company is “Millennial Women Talk,” a traveling podcast where the sisters travel city by city uncovering the challenges millennial women face and learn how to overcome them together. In each city, the Latina entrepreneurs host a live podcast and meet-up event where they invite local millennial women to come together and share their voices on the podcast. With the pandemic, their traveling podcast has shifted to in-studio production for 2020, but the mission of providing personal and self-development resources that focus on mind, body and soul has remained the same.
Darling got to chat with Melissa and Stephanie on what it’s been like to run a thriving media company in 2020, the ways in which the pandemic has caused them to pivot and the launch of their podcast course and Season 3 of the podcast in 2021.
When you were kids, what did you each want to be when you grew up?
Steph: When we were little, every day was entertainment for us. We loved putting on plays for our family. Our dad had a camera with a VHS tape recorder so we have so many home videos. I would pick the soundtrack and sing. Mel acted.
Now, it’s like a full circle moment. We were always interviewing each other and entertaining as kids, and that is what we do today.
Mel: We definitely wanted to be entertainers. I just wanted to be an actress. Steph wanted to be a singer. We are both terrible at each other’s strengths. We knew deep in our hearts that we wanted to work together, but we never knew it would be this.
How did the idea for the “Millennial Women” podcast come to be?
Mel: “Millennial Women” used to be called “Millennial Girls,” and it started as an idea for a TV show that we created back in 2015. At the time, we were struggling to find content that spoke to us. We pitched it all over Los Angeles. No one wanted to invest in the show, but everyone kept saying they loved us together.
It was March of 2017, and we were moving back to Miami. We decided to nix the TV show and start a podcast instead. At the time, the podcast industry was growing so much. We knew it was a whole new medium of entertainment.
When that idea came to me, it had been brewing for awhile. We didn’t think a TV show could grasp the voice of our generation through fictional characters. We knew we had to get the voice of women in our generation, real women.
Steph: Our intention for starting the show was to showcase millennial women. We knew it had to be the real voices of our generation.
Mel: I think a lot of times and because of social media, people think things happen really quickly and that things are set in stone the second an idea is born. That couldn’t be further from the truth. My advice for girls who are starting out in a desired career path is to allow yourself to be confused. Allow yourself to ask questions.
Podcasting was really left field for us, but we allowed ourselves to be a part of this learning process that is extremely uncomfortable. I encourage young women to embrace the process. I love when setbacks happen because it means something really big is coming on the other side of that obstacle.
I love when setbacks happen because it means something really big is coming on the other side of that obstacle.
Steph: I agree with Mel. It’s so true that a lot of the time you think you know what you want to do. While I do believe in strategizing and planning in the sense of career, you can’t be married to any one thing. With starting the podcast, we have learned to just allow life to happen.
What is it like working together as sisters?
Steph: We are more than sisters. We are each other’s best friends. I think our biggest challenge is our productivity level just because we are having so much fun. All of the sudden, four hours go by, and we wonder: What have we actually done? We are just chitter chattering. The biggest challenge is getting things done and being productive.
Mel: It has been a blast! A lot of people say not to do business with your family. On the contrary, I think it’s actually better. For us, we have learned not to take things personal. We do clash sometimes but in a very professional way. We both care so much about what we do that when we believe in something, we compromise, we are open and we give each other grace for sure.
What does a typical day on the job look like?
Mel: We divide and conquer everything. I handle the production aspects of the podcast from booking guests and picking the scripts. I typically start my day looking at analytics and the administration/business stuff. I also handle the technical business side of things. When it comes to the show, I put together preliminaries for guests.
All the production skills that I use for the podcast I learned through what I like to call “Youtube University.” I watched videos to sharpen my production skills with cameras, editing episodes, microphones, you name it. There are so many moving parts to the podcast. It’s crazy, but we are having so much fun!
There are so many moving parts to the podcast. It’s crazy, but we are having so much fun!
Steph: I do a lot of the creative stuff. I wake up and get on Instagram (which a lot of people tell you not to do). I am always looking at what’s out there and what our community is looking at. My focus is posting on social media and creating our newsletters and graphics.
A lot of what we do on a day-to-day basis is based on our own personal development. We ask ourselves, “What is it that we as millennial women are wanting?” We know that if we are aligned with our needs, it will come across as authentic messaging. We base our long-term and short-term goals on our own needs.
In our culture today, being a millennial often comes with a negative connotation. What does the name of the podcast represent?
Steph: It’s human nature to focus on the negative. We make assumptions. We generalize and stereotype. “We Are Millennial Women” started because we were meeting so many incredible women from our generation doing incredible things. We didn’t start the podcast to necessarily fight the negative stereotypes of our generation but to shed light on the women in our generation who are doing groundbreaking and amazing things.
If that changes the narrative, wonderful. I am very adamant about not stereotyping people. Our mission is to shed light.
On the podcast, you previously traveled from city to city uncovering challenges millennial women face. What were some of the most common struggles?
Steph: There are a lot of different issues, but the biggest is finding out who you are. In every conversation we have, we go into it with the question: Is this going to be able to provide us knowledge or wisdom to discover who we are? What can I hear right now that will allow me to form my own opinion on a certain topic? We want to help our listeners get to their most authentic selves and live that out loud.
Mel: The biggest struggle I have heard is the difficulty in forming your own opinion. It was always our intention for this podcast to help people generate their own perspectives on important issues. We believe that everyone should be able to have their own opinions and, with that, we can still be united as a generation.
How did COVID-19 impact podcast production? How did you guys adjust as a team?
Mel: Last year, we did the tour. Stephanie and I were itching to do more interviews, but when we are on the road, we can only do so many episodes. So we started doing the interviews in the studio. We dressed up this closet in our warehouse last year.
During the pandemic, we naturally pivoted but the difference is now we have way more resources. We had the opportunity to partner with an all-woman production team down here in Miami. Now, we will be able to conduct interviews in a much better studio with much better equipment. We were so ready for this pivot, and now God has blessed us with the opportunity to go to another level.
Steph: During the pandemic, we could not go outside, but we were forced to go inside. It really forced us to challenge ourselves. Our next season of the podcast, Season 3, is going to have a lot of emotional intelligence and mental health episodes. I honestly think those are characteristics that you can build in times like this.
What is the most valuable thing you have each learned personally and professionally in 2020?
Mel: Before this year, I was the person who lived in the future. I didn’t enjoy the journey step-by-step. I would always say I don’t have time for the little things. I was always focused on executing, and this year, I learned to take it one day at a time.
I savor everything now to the full capacity. Usually in a pre-production season (like what we are in right now), I would be stressed. However, now, I am in a state of savoring. I feel more fulfilled than ever.
Steph: The biggest thing that I have learned is that everything is about perspective. How are you viewing this current situation? The pandemic has forced me to practice this. Sometimes, on a daily basis. Sometimes, on an hourly basis.
We are all going through this and growing this pandemic together. It’s about finding the little happiness and the little joys. Just finding joy in the smallest of things, the things that happen every day that we take for granted.
We are all going through this and growing this pandemic together. It’s about finding the little happiness and the little joys.
You both are such industrious, multi-tasking women. Tell me about other projects you are working on outside of “Millennial Women.”
Mel: A project that came to birth this year is a family business called Crunchy Waves. The recipe stems from our grandmother, our dad’s mother, who lived in Cuba in the 1960s. At the time, when you were leaving the country to immigrate to the States, the government would strip you of your job, of everything. You were required to work for four to five years for the government as you were leaving the country.
My grandmother made this recipe to bring her family joy. Her goal was to make a business out of it. She sold it door-to-door, and when our family came to this country, she continued to sell it to help make ends meet. This business launch is a tribute to our grandmother, and it’s also a way to bring people joy during this time. It’s not just me and Steph, but it’s me, my parents and my brother.
For me personally, I also still produce. I have a TV show that pays respect to my Cuban heritage. I have been working on that and acting more on the commercial side.
Steph: It’s a balancing act with our personal endeavors and the family business, but that’s what life is about. During this time, I have been the most creative. I have been writing so much, and I even got back to playing piano during the pandemic. That’s been really, really great. I have also still been releasing music on Spotify and Apple iTunes Music.
Describe your sister in three words.
Mel: Stephanie is funny, creative and wise. If I had to add a fourth word, I’d say crazy talented.
Steph is one of the most hilarious and funny people I know. She just makes my day funnier and better. She is extremely creative. She is one of the most wise people. She is such an old soul. She is also so talented.
Steph: Mel is passionate, hardworking and dependable. You can depend on her. She will be there for you. I know I can always call on her.
If you could interview anyone for the “Millennial Women” podcast next, who would it be?
Mel: Honestly, Dolly Parton. She is somebody who has made everything happen for herself, and she was always so underestimated. She is such a smart businesswoman, and she never allowed herself to be intimidated or changed who she was.
Steph: I think my answer would be Dolly Parton too. If she was not famous, I’d still want to interview her. For Season 3 of the podcast, we are looking more at interviewing women who have paved the way for us, instead of looking linear. We are looking at the women who have come before us. We are all about mentorship.
Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to your younger self about life and career?
Mel: Honestly, it would just be to start. I used to hate that advice, but it’s true! When we launched our podcast, we didn’t know what we were doing. I started by just using an app on my iPhone called Anchor, and I used YouTube. I didn’t have a mic. I learned what mics to use. I learned how to edit through Garageband and YouTube.
If you want to do anything, Google it. If you are looking to make this into business, you can. You aren’t going to know what you are doing. Everything is a journey. Our podcast career has been colorful. It has had twists and turns, and it still does in a lot of ways.
Our podcast career has been colorful. It has had twists and turns, and it still does in a lot of ways.
Steph: One of the biggest things I have learned is that anything is possible, but sometimes, we focus so much time on the dream or the end goal that we don’t realize those goals and dreams. You pray for the cake, but then we don’t focus on how to make the cake and make little, miniscule tasks to get you to the finished product.
I’d tell my younger self to break down that dream into little tasks that you can do every single day. Allow yourself the grace to miss deadlines. At the end of the day, you have to get practical. Stop daydreaming and just get to work!
For updates and the latest on Season 3, follow Millennial Women on Instagram! To learn about the Carcache sisters’ individual endeavors, follow along with Melissa and Stephanie on Instagram as well.
Images via Ashley Canario