Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to an artisan from the southern part of Puerto Rico who creates a line of very special products related to women's health. Read our interview to meet Karla Reyes Ortiz!
Please, tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
Hello my name is Karla Reyes Ortiz, Puerto Rican since birth. I love the health career and I have nursing studies. I have a 10-year-old daughter, an important role for me, to be a mother. But I also help in the care of my 14 year old brother who is a boy with functional Autism and is partially deaf. In order to seek to learn about the world of cloth, I start with little materials to make it for personal use. What led me to decide to start helping others.
When and why did you decide to start your own business?
In December of 2017, I made the decision to make some for personal use. Even though I understood that handmade products had a cost, I wasn't making any income to be able to acquire more. Little by little I was making more with materials I could get here in Puerto Rico. And I started reading and teaching myself to make the pads. I started talking about it to many other women and since they knew I was beginning to make my own, they started asking me to make some for them. Since March 2018 I create them for women who are interested in making the switch, working between regular sales and taking special orders.
Why is it so important for you to create and educate the public about this type of product?
The importance of teaching girls about fabric menstrual pads goes beyond economic welfare. It helps us to know our bodies and understand that we don't all react the same to disposable pads and we can look for alternatives without chemicals. Some of the benefits you get from using reusable pads are reducing menstrual pains and abundant flows, staying dry, as well as not creating more trash on our planet. The focus is: we take care of ourselves, but we contribute to the care of our planet.
Since starting your own business, what is the biggest challenge you have faced?
The biggest challenge is not only getting people to try the product, it's addressing the mentality that many girls have about the hygiene of these towels: the fear of exposing themselves to accidents, and seeing it with disgust when it is a normal process of our bodies.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start their own business selling handmade products?
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.
What do you see in the future for your business? Where would you like your business to go?
Honestly, I want to do more things, although right now I don't just concentrate on fabric pads, but later on I'd like to add other things for personal use. But, always at the hand of God who gives me the right tools.
Where can people find and buy your products?
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.