Bella Vita launched a blog titled “Boss Lady” in March 2017 - after years of being inspired by the women that we are friends with, work with, or do business with, that are building their empire doing what they love.  Running a business takes work, and getting started takes courage. At Bella Vita, we wanted to take this opportunity to praise and encourage some of the great female entrepreneurs we have met over the years and we hope to inspire more young women (and men) to follow their instinct/talent/passion and become entrepreneurs.  

My team and I are reaching out to the woman owned businesses that inspire and amaze us on a daily basis.  We will start with a brief background, then dive into the nitty gritty of running a business, what keeps them inspired, and everything else in between.

I was born and raised in Oklahoma, but spent many of my teen years as an exchange student in Colima, Mexico. During my time there, I fell In love with the culture and language. I went to the University of Colorado to study International Development in college and had the opportunity to spend a year in Spain and to attend several other exchanges through Latin America. After college, I spent 8 years teaching Spanish and English in an inner city charter school in Oklahoma City. While there, I completed my graduate studies in Bilingual Education and started teaching Spanish at the University of Oklahoma. I married my high school sweetheart and we now have 2 beautiful identical twin 4-year-old twins, Silas and Cruz. Once they were born, I decided to make the switch to start my own business to give back to a place that gave me so much. I started in one village with one skirt and one woman. I wanted to show my children that I truly followed my passion and my dreams. Here we are, almost 4 years later and now I employ 23 artisan families across 3 regions on Mexico. I raise my children bilingually and they often have the opportunity to travel and spend time in Mexico with me. We also opened our first retail store in downtown Oklahoma City last year. My dream has become my reality and I couldn’t be more grateful.

  1. Give us your elevator pitch. Siempre Viva is a lifestyle brand focused on providing sustainable employment to artisans throughout rural Mexico. While we understand charity is critical, we believe that poverty is reduced when people are able to provide for themselves. We manufacture in the communities we wish to impact, allowing artisans to empower themselves along the way.

  2. When did you start your business? 3.5 years ago.

  3. What inspired you to make the leap? I was teaching Spanish at the University of Oklahoma when I became a mother of twin boys. Once I was done with their infancy, I decided to make the switch so that I could show my children that I truly followed my dreams.

  4. What helps you get started each morning? Coffee, diet coke, 10 mile jog, meditation?? Cuddles with my 4 year old twin boys.

  5. Tell us about a day in the life of running your business. Owning my own business has allowed me to have the flexibility to work while my kids are in school or from home if need be. On a normal day, I work out of my office above our retail store, working on supply chain management with our artisans and servicing our wholesale clients. I also work alongside our shop keeper to stock our retail storefront in OKC.

  6. What keeps you motivated? Once an artisan is accustomed to a better quality of life, what they need most is continual access to employment. I feel extremely responsible to help sell enough of their merchandise to allow this to happen. 

  7. Describe your dream day. My dream day is visiting with my artisans in their homes. They tell me inspirational stories, history and allow me to eat with them. They are the most humble humans I have ever encountered and I feel so lucky to get to work alongside of them.

  8. What is your greatest strength/super power?  Multitasking, without it, I would sink so quickly. Its a skill that I feel has been most useful to the success of the balance of my business and home life. 

  9. Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat? Siemprevivaclothing on FB + Insta.

  10. What do you do in your free time? (ha! What is free time?!) In my free time, I practice yoga, travel Mexico, ski, dive, climb or anything that takes me outdoors.

  11. If an investor gave you 1 million dollars to use toward your business, how would you spend it? I would create a co-op in Oaxaca to allow more women to have access to employment through weaving.

  12. What’s the biggest risk you ever took; how did it go? The biggest risk I ever took was signing up for my first International trade show. I opened more accounts than I could have ever imagined and have never looked back.

  13. Name something you hate doing but have to do for the good of your business. How do you make it tolerable? Book keeping. I would rather do anything besides book keeping. I finally have been in a place to pay someone to do it for me.

  14. How do you handle discouragement? I confide in my closest girls, who remind me daily that I am confident that I am on the right path and that any detour is worth the growth in the end.

  15. Which iconic person inspires you? Not to be cliche, but Frida Kahlo has been my dearest icon for decades. She inspires me to be relentlessly myself, to overcome the greatest of obstacles and to dare to be different from the norm.

  16. Do you have a favorite, inspiring quote? "Many small people, in small places, doing small things can change the world." -Eduardo Galeano

  17. If you could choose anyone to pick as a mentor, who would you choose? I think I would pick Angelina Jolie. She has fought passionately and fearlessly for what she believes. She instills humility and compassion into her children and I hope to do the same.

  18. Who are you in your next life? A cactus in the mountains of Oaxaca, covered in protection and full of sunshine.

  19. Any secrets on how you balance the ins and outs of running a small business? It takes a village, just like raising a child. Use the relationships you have spent your career building to help achieve your end goal. No one can do it alone.

  20. What’s the best advice you have for other women wanting to be entrepreneurs? Just go for it. If not now, then when?

Visit Siempre Viva in person
at 3 NW 9th St., Oklahoma City, OK
on social media:

All Photos By: Greer Inez Photography

June 04, 2018 — Brandy McNair

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