Name: Paula Herrera
Company: MAPA Collective + MARIYA
Title: Founder + Co-Founder
Lives In: Brooklyn, New York
About Me: Hola! My name is Paula and I am in love with connecting talented Colombian artisans with the broader consumer market. Exotic leather is where I started with MAPA Collective (www.mapacollective.com), and just last year I started collaborating with another artisan group and launched MARIYA (www.shopmariya.com). Designed in the US and handmade in Colombia, the collections seek to promote sustainable employment in my native Colombia while creating something beautiful and one-of-a-kind.
My first daughter, Maia Liliana, was born in August and I am adjusting to life in Brooklyn with a newborn. I am also a yogi (200hr certified instructor), love specialty coffee, and enjoy seeking out artisans worldwide to learn about their craft. I am looking to interact and collaborate with like-minded, creative mamas, and share my work, to date, with others.
What are your skills?: Marketing, Finance, Operations, Other: please describe
What is your education?: BBA, University of Michigan (2007)
MBA, Wharton School @ University of Pennsylvania (2013)
MA Int'l. Studies @ University of Pennsylvania (2013)
*Additional skill: I am bilingual! A native Spanish speaker and have a lot of experience working with Latin American businesses
Interested in: Business, Mentorship, Friendship, Play dates
Why do you want to be a part of heymama?: I am super interested in meeting other young mothers who are dedicating time to both their young children as well as their own ventures, simultaneously. That sense of community is something that I want to build up in my day-to-day - both through what I can benefit from being around like-minded members, but also what I can contribute to others with my experiences, to date. I have a strong business background (versus technical design training), so I love seeking feedback from seasoned designers with similar creative aesthetics and am always willing to provide guidance on the business side of things! On a non-business level, I love seeing the theme of health + wellness throughout the HEYMAMA community - something that is super important in my life and definitely an underlying theme throughout my days.
What are your brand goals for this year?: To broaden our reach! MAPA Collective has been a direct-to-consumer brand from the start, focusing on sales online and through various sales women throughout the country. We are cleaning up our merchandise and focusing on a handful of best sellers in various materials to more cleanly grow the business.
MARIYA (@shopmariya) is ready to make a big intro in 2017. We introduced the brand in the Hamptons Summer 2016 and had great success. Now we want to build out our retailer platform to significantly grow sales. The more we sell, the more we order from our artisans, and the greater impact we have!
Words you live by/quotes you love: It's in Spanish! Growing up my parents always told me and my brothers that "el no lo tienes asegurado"... which essentially means you'll never know until you give it a try. That always comes to mind when I'm making decisions and helps me take risks.
Best advice you’ve ever been given? Every day do at least one thing - big or small - that works toward launching your dreams.