This month the blog is going to focus on a year in review of the content we've produced, and now as I'm looking over it, wow, we've done a lot this year!
Thank you to all the Puerto Rican artisans and crafters who agreed to be guests on the blog and thank you to all of them for sharing their amazing insight and stories with us. You can click on 'View' next to each title to read each post in full.
Liz Nazario of Atelier LN: Leather Accessories made in Juana Diaz, Puerto Rico View
The biggest challenge I’ve faced so far was learning to create my bags on my own. When I first started I had no formal education in how to build bags and that meant that in the beginning each bag would take me longer to make it. There are many tools I had to learn to use but now I see that the learning process was essential for me. That difficulty at the beginning gave me the opportunity to create my own style of handmade leather wallet and people always tell me, “I like your work because it is different.” So in the end it was worth it. To this day I continue to educate myself, buying books, taking sewing classes and related workshops to continue learning.
Soaps Andrea: The youngest Artisan in Puerto Rico View
My goal is very similar to the parable of the sower. You sow your seeds in different fields, but you do not know where you are going to grow and flourish. In my case, the seeds are my products, the lands would be my clients and what will flourish is the word of the Lord, which is put into each of my products (Psalm 51:10). My inspiration is mostly trends but with a different take. I always try to be up to date in fragrances, styles and above all, the quality of my products. In addition to what I receive from my sales, I contribute the tithe to my Church and I also share it with the most needy, helping non-profit organizations and people in need. My mom and my pastor are responsible for recommending people or entities we can help.
Skin care with natural ingredients from Juana Diaz, Puerto Rico View
My greatest advice for those who want to start their own business, whether it is handmade or not, is that they love what they do. First is to be sure that they are passionate about this business, that they educate themselves, take workshops and seminars to strengthen knowledge. That they organize their short and long term goals well and finally, fight and work hard to reach those goals.
POP Projects: The amazing benefits of setting up a pop up shop. View
We’re really excited to work with you and get to know what your dream is. We are flexible with space and locations as long as you have the desire to make your brand something great. We work with dreamers and people who don’t stand with the status quo, which can be challenging, but makes for an amazing stew of opportunity and creativity.
A Spiritual and Entrepreneurial Soul: Brenda of Casa Calma Puerto Rico View
Casa Calma was born in 2012 during a healing therapy, I had a vision in the process and upon awakening my therapist tells me "I saw everything and it will be a beautiful place" ... I then told him "and it will be called Casa Calma". From that day Casa Calma was mentioned almost daily, it is like a purpose that God, the Universe gave as my mission. When I bought my home, I called it Casa Calma as somehow that dream was materializing. My son knows about my dream and always asked me "Mommy when are you going to fulfill your dream?"
Teacher by day artist by night: Melissa Portell of Letters by Angelie View
The philosophy behind my product is to inspire people who are pet lovers to create a relationship beyond being the owner of a pet, but see your pet as part of your family. I have had the privilege of meeting many people who, like me, know that they’re an important part of our lives, and ask me to draw pets that are no longer physically with them. It fills me with satisfaction to be able to create a memory of that doggy son that marked its owner’s life. Dogs can bring out the best of us.
Puerto Rican Author and Artist: Kathia Alsina View
Passion, Passion and more passion ... But a lot of faith, confidence, joy and above all gratitude in what you are doing. But the best thing is that you have a vision that carries you through every challenge and obstacle to reach the top. All this is what worked for me.
A vision, passion, facing all my fears and believing in myself which is equal to having confidence and faith to create something that nobody had seen or thought could be done. What has sustained me has been gratitude on the way to my victory. Happiness because there are days you need to fight defeats.
Bill Bourdon: Wire Tree Artist View
I think Puerto Rico has an amazing wealth of artists and Puerto Rican art really has a personal "heart" to it. Before I made my first flamboyan sculpture, I did research and realized they didn't exist. At all!
That just means there are still many untouched avenues that Puerto Rican artists can venture. For an island with a long and eclectic history, there's still so much that can be created.
Karla Reyes Ortiz: Artisan with a focus on women’s health. View
The times I've been asked, I always tell them that the key to this is reading and patience. There are many products but each person who makes the product has their own light. They use different materials, they handle their time differently, they have their own dynamics. And this is much more than having a business and making a profit, it's knowing your customers, teaching them, taking time to answer concerns as they arise. Clients put their trust in you at the same time that they have the product in their hands, and they know that you did not fail them.
Do you know an artisan, maker, crafter or designer that you would like to see on my blog? Use the contact page and let me know!
Vanessa Jiménez is a virtual assistant that helps creative women build businesses on firm roots. Through educational resources and personalized services she helps micro-businesses flourish. Vanessa lives and works in the southern area of Puerto Rico.
To discover how Vanessa can help your craft business, click here.