By Anne Lagrange
Meet Viridiana Reich or Viri, founder of Mayan Expressions, a hand-made gifts and jewelry company specializing in the creative work of indigenous Mayan people and their ancestral traditions. After moving to Austin from Chiapas Mexico, her mother would bring gifts from Chiapas made by indigenous Mayans during her visits. These gifts inspired Viri to start her business selling imported items while helping the indigenous people of her home country. These imports are made by hand with material indigenous to Chiapas. Today Mayan Expressions products can be found at their virtual store and at Austin Gift Company on South Lamar.
Viri shares her experience as a business owner and how EGBI can help you grow your business too.
Hi Viri! To get started, would you mind telling us what inspired you to start your business?
When I arrived in the US I started working a traditional job, but I’d always been proud of my heritage and inspired by silver jewelry. After friends saw my Mom’s presents from Chiapas they asked where they could buy similar products. That’s when I realized I could turn these gifts into a business.
What makes your business unique?
Our products are unique because everything is handmade and has a history. They also give back to the community by helping indeginuos women from Chiapas. It’s really a team effort between everyone on both sides of the border helping each other succeed.
What are some obstacles you feel like you have encountered in starting or growing your business? How did you overcome this?
There has been a lot! The biggest obstacle was combining my business with my family. I never felt like there was enough time and was always a little afraid of taking big steps like quitting my job and getting a loan. Prioritizing family definitely haltered my growth in the beginning but now owning my own business gives me the flexibility to be there for special moments. I thank God for how my business helps me support my family.
What workshops have you taken at EGBI?
I took the entrepreneurship classes with EGBI and they were very thorough. I’ve never lost contact with the EGBI staff and love seeing how much care and dedication the EGBI team puts into their work.
How has EGBI helped you?
EGBI helped me build a base and solid foundation for my business. What I really appreciated was the coaches putting themselves in my shoes and always thinking about my needs. It’s obvious they care about their clients and want to build a sustained relationship. The coaches are genuine and want to see their business owners succeed.
Want to work with EGBI? Contact us to find out how you can get started.