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Mayra Jimenez: Starting From Scratch

Mayra Jimenez's swimwear company, The Orchid Boutique, highlights the talents of her native Colombia

Video Transcript

00:00 Mayra Jimenez: I am originally from Colombia, South America. I came to this country when I was 18, and along the way I met my business partner/husband. And at the time, we were both involved in an organization called 'I Believe In Colombia' because we were foreigners in this country, and we were looking for an outlet that would allow us to talk about the good things that our country has. We knew that there was a design boom going on in Colombia with young up and coming entrepreneurs, kind of our age, very creative, fashion-oriented, especially with the luxury swimwear industry. And we were looking for an outlet that would allow us to talk about the good things that our country has. So, that's how we decided to start the Orchid Boutique.

00:49 Jimenez: Some of the brands that we have, have very handcrafted elements to them. So, many of the owners, what they do is, they have factories in one of the major textile cities of Colombia called Medellín, but on the outskirts, there are native people who live almost in tribe-like circumstances, underprivileged people with very, very keen sense of artistic purposes. Many of these brands were virtually completely unknown to the international market when we started with them. Literally no one knew what we were talking about, what these brands were about, and now several of these brands have grown into multi-million dollar brands. Some are now carried at competitors like Nordstrom and other big department stores.

Last updated: Nov 13, 2012

CHRISTINE LAGORIO-CHAFKIN | Staff Writer | Senior Writer

Christine Lagorio-Chafkin is a writer, editor, and reporter whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Village Voice, and The Believer, among other publications. She is a senior writer at Inc.

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