In 2009, Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, which once was considered the 8th world wonder almost died. This lake is where I was baptized, it's where I learned how to swim, and it's where my grandparents lived.
Overnight, toxic blue green algae covered almost every inch of the lake. NASA called it one of the worst natural disasters to occur in our lifetime as you could see the contamination from space. I knew I needed to help and bring beauty and business back to this thriving lake.
On that trip, I saw little girls collecting the contaminated water as they had no other choice. I went to the local markets and they were empty as tourists had stopped coming.
Ix Style (pronounced "eye ex") started as a simple idea to help one woman and morphed into working with over 600 women around Lake Atitlán. Ix is a for-profit, charitable fashion company that sells huarache sandals, handbags and jewelry made in Guatemala where my family is originally from. For every purchase, we donate to provide clean drinking water to children in Guatemala.
To learn more about our mission, please take a look at this video The Gap filmed about our work: Work With Mayan Artisans + Providing Clean Drinking Water To Children
Do you have hobbies? What are they? Is it important to take “time off” and focus on other things such as friends, family, hobbies etc.? What do you think of the stereotype that entrepreneurs are workaholics?
Running. I do at least 3-4 destination half marathons a year. That way I can explore new places and maintain a healthy lifestyle!
Who is the one super successful person you look up to? Why them? Can you share their quote/ideology that inspires you the most?
I look up to my mentors and advisors Rebecca Minkoff and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson one of the founder of Gilt Group. They were pioneers in the fashion world, never gave up, and have been incredibly successful and more importantly they pay it forward to other female entrepreneurs.
What is your proudest accomplishment in 2016? What’s the biggest goal for 2017?
Winning an investment from 3/4 judges on Project Runway: Fashion Startup including from the #1 accessories designer in the U.S. Rebecca Minkoff.
Also, giving a TED talk in front of the TED founder/curator Chris Anderson. I never thought of myself as public speaker but I got out of my comfort zone and I'm proud of the job I did. Here's the link.
On Women's International Day, Inc. Magazine out of nowhere named me 1 of 27 top women entrepreneurs changing the world along with Jessica Alba. I definitely cried that day! It just means the world when people acknowledge your work!
What helped you get to where you are right now?
I have to say not being afraid to ask for something. I run into bloggers, editors, celebrities, other designers all the time and I always in a very authentic way ask to collaborate. Sometimes it doesn't happen but most of the time people want to help our cause! Don't be afraid to ask! What's the worst they can say?