One Knit At A Time – A sequel about the making of ATOYAK, Inc.

 

In the coming weeks I will be blogging about the making of ATOYAK, the social enterprise that was founded by Jacqueline C. Cisneros to create sustainable job opportunities that empower women in small towns of Mexico to rise out of poverty and live with dignity. I will touch on the business itself, the idea that lead to its creation, its founder, the steps that led us to where we are today and everything else that is connected to running a business in the ethical fashion industry.

“If your dreams don’t scare you – dream bigger.”
ATOYAK

This is only the most recent inspiring quote that I find when I enter Jacqueline’s house and our “Headquarters”. As a Silicon Valley designer, Jacqueline has the perfect sense for the next great pick to add to her collection of reused and repurposed accessories and furniture. Her latest passion is to spend the little bit of free time she can carve out of her busy days with finding old frames and filling them with designs or quotes.

Jacqueline is a big dreamer. The moment I met her she inspired me with her overwhelming energy, her positive spirit, her incredible idealism and desire to help.

But after being consumed by her career in the corporate world, she felt like she wanted to have a more meaningful impact, live up to her ideas and ideals and start changing the lives of people she deeply cares about. Out of this desire flourished ATOYAK. Before reminiscing about Jacqueline’s 4 year long journey, let’s look at the present.

Today ATOYAK sells handmade socially conscious and earth friendly products that empower and tell a story. Through ATOYAK, Jacqueline has been able to provide jobs for six incredible women in Mexico giving them new perspectives and hopes for their future. Our women in Mexico have their own studio in which they produce the products. In the US, Jacqueline is running the show while juggling a full time job, being a wife and mother of two.

However, there are three women that have her back and try to support her in her big dream. There are Kathrina and Carol from Mima (Miranda International Marketing Agency) who were immediately intrigued by Jacqueline’s accomplishments and plans and are doing everything to help her grow the brand. And then there is myself, her “partner in crime”.
For over two years now, I have observed Jacqueline’s adventure of becoming a social entrepreneur, I have pitched in wherever I could, have spent hours of listening and discussing ideas and the future, and gone through all the emotional stages of owning a business with her. Not only do I have a background in business and enjoy the work, but I also share her idealism. After all, I am her sister-in-law and I was quickly consumed into our little family project before I even realized it. My husband and Jacqueline’s younger brother Jairo calls us tree huggers and, after years, is still surprised by the similarity of our personalities. So basically I was predestined for being a part of ATOYAK and Jacqueline’s partner.

Preview: Next time I will write about the idea for ATOYAK, the name and Jacqueline’s connection with it.

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About the Author

Selina is a world traveling sustainability enthusiast. She recently moved to the Bay Area, where she works for a tech start-up and is helping to build ATOYAK, a social enterprise that empowers women by producing ethical clothes and accessories. She is also very passionate about sustainable agriculture and the reduction of food waste.

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