On Inspiration from Central America: Alejandra Stern of Esperanza Heritage
this spring, our theme is: synergy.
It’s time to invest in relationships, projects and people that will help us grow. It’s time to create a little synergy.
synergy (n.): the benefit that results when two or more agents work together to achieve something either one couldn't have achieved on its own.
It's the concept of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. In life, at work and in our communities, synergy is that space where the magic happens—where things fall into place, values align and our ideas find a home.
So, what does professional and personal synergy look like? How do we reject cultures of comparison and approach collaboration? How do we protect our own energy as we navigate opportunities, success and failures? This Spring, our programs will serve as a moment to hear from and amplify women and nonbinary leaders in our community who create synergy through their work.
As we prepare for craftHER Market Spring ‘19, we’re interviewing some of this market’s featured makers to learn more about their businesses and the ways in which they create synergy through their work. Read on for a peek into their process.
about today’s featured maker:
We are Andrea Hatcher and Alejandra Stern.
We are sisters, born and raised in Honduras.
We started Esperanza with the idea of bringing bags that we liked and used, to sell in the U.S. since we always received so many compliments on them.
Tell us the background of your business: How did you get started?
We got started about two years ago before a trip to Honduras- we both have always received compliments on our canastas, jewelry, toys and home décor that we bring from Central America. For the time being it is just the two of us and we sell our items online and in markets. We are moving towards wholesale in the near future.
How do you approach collaboration within your work? When and where do you collaborate on making products?
We love to collaborate! Seriously, it is such an enriching experience, so many relationships have sprouted and formed thanks to collaborations, whether a pop up, photoshoot, market; the Austin community lends such a helpful and welcome hand to small businesses. All of our products are a result of collaborations with wonderfully talented artisans in Central America.
How do you balance the creative side and the business side of your work?
It definitely helps that there are 2 of us in “charge” of the business, and although we both have defined roles depending our strengths, those roles reverse from time to time which helps us keep a fresh eye of creativity. Our biggest challenge is carving the time consistently to talk about the more formal business part- we end up talking about it on the phone or in small chinks throughout he day while having our kiddos play together
What resources have helped you grow your business? What resources do you need more of? As a WOB what would you like to see more of?
We definitely have grown from experiences such as CraftHer market- we couldn’t make the mixer this year, but last spring when we where able to go, it was incredibly informative on the expectations and tips to make the market a success. We need more of those, mixers, meet ups to encourage not only networking of WOB but also to mentor and be mentored. The markets that we attend have allowed us to create a network of WOB supporting each other through social media and personally in events.
How do you handle perceived failures within your work?
By feeling it. Allowing ourselves to feel the disappointed, and then lifting our heads and saying yeah we won’t do that again, really has helped us streamline a more clear path of where and how we want Esperanza to go.
Who is your target audience for your product and how do you connect with them?
At the beginning of Esperanza our target audience was focused on kids and moms, and as we started to define our vision, one of our main goals has been demonstrate that there is no age, demographic limitation to our product or even so a season (out canastas call to summer, but they are for any season)
What is a good leader to you?
A good leader is someone who has the desire to work hard, willingness to learn, is empathetic and open to collaboration and new ideas.
What do you wish you knew before starting your own business?
That it takes time to build your audience, followers and that growing pains are okay and necessary to grow that business.
Would you like to meet Alejandra in-person? Come out to craftHER Market on April 14, 2019 at Fair Market and stop by her booth. Click here to learn more.