In a small town near Santo Domingo, Ecuador, a group of young women hum in unison as they each string together long, colorful chains of wooden beads. With their unique patterns and vibrancy, these necklaces wrap around the wrists of dancing children, and their colors stain the sand around them.
From jewelry to clothing, the indigenous women of the Tsa’chila tribe sell their high-quality homemade merchandise to the town’s citizens for a minimal profit. However, upon indulging in this culture, I realized that the Tsa’chila women wish for nothing more. What motivates their business is the process of women in their community joining together to develop something from scratch. It is about indulging in the artistic culture and sharing this with others that fuel the passion of Tsa’chila women.
Higher profit margins do not drive this group of female entrepreneurs; success is not tangible or defined as financial prosperity. Instead, they create these commodities because they have fallen in love with the process. This devotion has initiated a chain reaction, and the beaded jewelry has impacted those beyond their region.
Ecuadorian feminist, Maria Pacheco, leads women’s groups in rural areas of Ecuador to help them lift themselves out of poverty by creating “Minga Bracelets” to sell across the globe. Maria begins at the root, instilling strength and self-confidence within young girls. They make these bracelets together as a symbol of their union. Female empowerment and entrepreneurial opportunities in developing countries can help raise a nation out of economic turmoil and encourage its development.
The success of Minga Bracelets and other merchandise handmade by Ecuadorian women was not driven by the ideologies that have distracted most of the Western culture. Instead of money, these female entrepreneurs were devoted to their art and the hope for a brighter future. These are the ideologies that are represented in their branding and have inspired women across the globe. A brand gives you purpose and identity. It becomes the lens through which you see the world and the way others see you.
In my podcast with brand clarity expert, international speaker, and author, Suzanne Tulien we approach the topic of unconscious and conscious branding. We talk about the secrets to brand growth and leveraging yourself above the competition. I believe that we carry the power to make an extraordinary impact on this world. As soon as we start to understand our value and surpass the barriers of self-doubt, we can achieve our full potential. We need to look towards idols like Maria Pacheco and incorporate her message of building self-esteem into our lives. She has devoted her life to defeat the stigma surrounding young women in developing countries and has given them the confidence to envision their potential. Enabling real power begins within. Your brand is a direct reflection of how you see yourself and what you hope for in the future.
Allow the unwritten stories of women in Ecuador to inspire your perspective on self-value. Fall in love with the process of becoming who you are and reaching your potential. Your branding begins here.