Beyond the #Girlbossmoment: Molly Berry employs a family of Guatemalan artisans!
"I started Luna Zorro a year and a half ago after deciding I needed a new bedspread (yes, really). Living in Guatemala is a culturally rich experience which, for me, includes being surrounded by handwoven textiles unlike those of any other country. When I moved here, I wanted a neutral bedspread which I couldn’t seem to find anywhere since the traditional colors of Guatemala tend to be bright and bold. I began to immerse myself and get to know the Guatemalan world of weaving intimately. I talked to anyone and everyone I could, I strolled through market upon market, I wasn’t afraid to put myself out there, to ask and to learn. I became more confident, I improved my Spanish daily, and I began to really understand that people are generous and candid with their time and help when you approach them with genuine respect for what they do. Within the first few weeks, I designed a bedspread which was then handwoven for me and it was at that moment that Luna Zorro was born. I saw a sweet pocket of potential in which I could honor the incredible quality and integrity of the handwoven textiles of Guatemala while putting my own modern touch on the colors and patterns. I saw that by living here and involving myself in the process of the art of weaving, I could provide a custom textile design service to others. I also saw the chance to make a positive social impact, which encouraged me to get started.
One day, my phone rang and it was a number I didn’t recognize. I answered and a young but confident voice explained that her name was Delia; she was a weaver from the western highlands of Guatemala, and she had gotten my number from another weaver that I’d once been in touch with. Delia had called me to ask if she could make the 3 hour bus ride to Antigua to show me samples of her work. I agreed, impressed and touched by her courage and authenticity. At the time, I wasn’t sure what projects I could give Delia; I didn’t yet have a big enough workload to take on more weavers, but I was so moved by her initiative that I knew I would find work for her. Today, Delia, her mom, her six sisters and her two brothers are my main weaving cooperative and they're kicking ass at what they do. This has been my favorite #girlbossmoment so far! I am able to give them a constant and sustainable flow of work which they handle professionally and gracefully. Delia made a bold move that totally paid off for all of us. I’m eternally proud to partner with these artisans, entrepreneurs, and real-life Girlbosses.
Working directly with Mayan weavers is the heart of Luna Zorro and it is what I love most about my business. Today, we do custom orders for interior designers and boutique hotels, and recently we’ve started a retail store online. Everything is designed and woven to order, so I’m in constant contact with the weavers, which total nearly 20 at this point. We work together, we’ve built deep friendships, we collaborate on designs, and we stand in a global marketplace together."
Three pieces of advice to aspiring entrepreneurs:
- Trust your instincts, because they’re always right. Sometimes we get so oversaturated with outsider advice that it’s hard to hear our inner voice. No one knows you like you do. Learn to turn inward and have faith in what feels right for you and for your own path. Even if you aren’t sure exactly where that path will lead you, that’s OK; listen and trust it anyway.
- Use your networks and don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s inspiring and humbling how many people want to be involved with someone who is building a business authentically.
- Show gratitude for your experiences. In good times and in hard times, expressing appreciation helps to keep you grounded and real. Building a business is really hard work, but no matter what, it’s a valuable learning experience. In the words of Nelson Mandela: “I never lose. I either win or learn.” It’s that kind of attitude that will help you to be a true boss!