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Raquel Arana, designer and entrepreneur

Raquel blew us away with her enthusiasm for women’s empowerment and entrepreneurship. She began by asking the women to reflect on what they enjoy doing – such as cooking, sewing, talking and connecting with people, making crafts, etc. Raquel then encouraged the women to identify ways they can turn these interests into part of their business, that way, they can find more joy in their work. Raquel shared her about her own interests of drawing, painting and telling stories. These interest serve her as she illustrates and designs purses, computer bags, totes, etc. Raquel’s mother is her partner, who runs the business management and administration responsibilities. They both compliment each other well and they make a great team and business partnership.

The entrepreneurs also gained a lot of practical advice from Raquel:
– it’s important to keep innovating the products that you offer and it’s okay if a product doesn’t sell – the point is to keep creating and testing the market.
-trust the evolutionary progress of a business – be patient and dedicated to doing all the details and steps of developing your business, rather than focusing on skipping steps to then reach your goal.
– have patience in becoming financially independent – it takes longer than anticipated.
-have a daily routine and be disciplined to follow it, take one day off a week to recharge.

The entrepreneurs and Raquel also shared how important personal empowerment and self confidence is in general, and especially when a woman is trying to develop and start a business. Raquel encouraged the women to identify their emotions and stressors and confide with a trusted friend or peer entrepreneur. The effort will hopefully minimize their doubts and concerns rather than inhibit them from developing their business.

Raquel touched on so many important life lessons that the Women’s Empowerment Project tries to instill and invoke in the entrepreneurs. We are so grateful for her generous time, her positive energy, her encouraging words, and her example of being a dedicated, creative woman entrepreneur!

Each of Raquel’s bags have a name and story. The hand bags can be purchased at Hecho En Casa, where various Salvadoran entrepreneurs sell their handmade products! (FB: Instagram:

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