Today, on World Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, we are proud to share with you the vision of Juliana Maruri, the winner of the best social project in the latest edition of the Moneytrans Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards.
This Colombian woman based in Spain studied design and cultural administration, but it was her commitment to environmental issues that led her to come up with her winning idea: Bagloop, a responsible production of reusable bags and a claim to critical consumption. In her project she applies criteria that are fundamental to her: the well-being of the planet and the well-being of people by providing job opportunities for people at risk of exclusion. Today we find out more about her as an entrepreneurial woman!
What does it mean to you to be a woman entrepreneur?
Fighting against everything. It’s beautiful and hard at the same time, and being a woman it’s twice as hard, because of issues such as family reconciliation and many other barriers that women face. That is why my enterprise also seeks to support them, because it is very hard. In fact, 90% of the people I employ are women. In addition, women, because of their vision, have a very broad spectrum of opportunities compared to the traditional business model, which is very positive.
What led you to become an entrepreneur?
I have a very curious mind; I have always liked to create projects and ideas. With this particular venture, I wanted to create something different from the bad practices seen in the market.
I find it hard to stand idly by while consumerism and business as usual continue. If we don’t do something to change it, generating new projects and ideas, we are in a bad way. Bagloop defends my ideological position and was also created to give job opportunities to other people who find it difficult to find work.
I consider it essential that every enterprise puts people first, and so does the environment, because our well-being depends on it. To undertake without considering the planet is a huge mistake. We must take a restorative approach. This is how we can move forward together. – Juliana Maruri
What is the most difficult thing about starting your own project? What is the best thing that entrepreneurship has given you?
Being your own boss. You are much more tyrannical with yourself than any boss. You don’t put a limit on the time you spend on it. You are very demanding with yourself, but it’s necessary to get the project off the ground. It is very difficult to set limits for yourself.
The best thing is the nice people and the beautiful atmosphere I’ve been able to meet. People with the same concerns… You can change things when you learn to play within the same system. That’s how you generate a greater impact, both on people and spaces.
Do dreams come true?
Yes, but not in the way we idealise them. They are diffuse and full of strange situations. Sometimes one part is fulfilled and not another… it’s the very essence of the dream, it’s not linear. My dream is to save the planet. I won’t achieve it as such, but maybe I will achieve many mini planets. Even if you put all your strength into achieving something, the environment may not be with you. If you manage to change one part of yourself, that’s already valuable.
What is the best advice you were given when you wanted to become an entrepreneur? What advice would you give to other women who are going through the same process?
I don’t know if it’s the best, but certainly one that I hadn’t considered before: when you create a business you also have to think about how it will end. That saves you a lot of problems because you anticipate. This is not in a negative sense, but in a practical sense. It leads you to think, for example, how to solve future problems with suppliers…
My advice: don’t hesitate to do it. Experience is always a gain. And to rely on the people close to you. Entrepreneurship is very hard, both emotionally and financially. And it is very important to build and look for support networks, so that if you fall, you have someone to pick you up and give you momentum again.
Where does Bagloop stand?
Bagloop promotes reuse, which goes against the more commercial side of buying and re-buying the same product over and over again. Defending the ethic of reuse makes it difficult for us to find a balance that allows us to sustain ourselves. Moreover, in line with our values, production is centralised in Spain and has social workshops, which makes our product more expensive compared to a private label product that does not consider account social and environmental criteria.
The health crisis dealt a heavy blow to my business. Covid is also the pandemic of single-use plastic, which has also been an added problem for my project. We used to distribute to about 20/30 online shops, most of which have been forced to close due to the pandemic. For all these reasons, we are currently at a standstill, reinventing ourselves in order to move forward. We are including, for example, handprints to set ourselves apart. We are redefining the structure of the new line.
Juliana’s entrepreneurial spirit and that of millions of women who, like her, decided to set up their own business, are not only an example of determination and courage, but also an essential contribution to the visibility and empowerment of women in business!
At Moneytrans we firmly believe that making a better world is possible – find out more about initiatives like this at Making People Smile!