Meet Judy Romano de Achar, founder of Mitz, a social enterprise that works with artisans in Mexico to help build a better future through education, taking care of the planet and women’s social empowerment, starting in Mexico. Mitz is the brand of accessories created by upcycling leftover packaging from different brands by women in vulnerable communities. Judy is an alumna of Aid to Artisans’ eMarket Readiness Program, and is paving the way for thoughtful and innovative development for communities in need.  To date, Mitz has created over 700 jobs and paid over $400,000 to the artisans they work with. Read below to learn about her work, Mitz’s mission and experience at our eMarket Readiness Program!

Tell me about your company and how you work with artisans? 

We believe in the power of transformation through education, which is why we’ve chosen to partner up with underprivileged communities of women in Mexico. We feel strongly about giving them a fair chance at a fulfilling and meaningful life. As part of our process, we first guide them through 18 months of human development and then teach them upcycling techniques so they can discover their own tremendous power; a useful and needed craft. This is our uniqueness! We strongly believe that education can be transformative. These fair opportunities we continually strive to provide result in a better world and a more fulfilling life for many.

How did your business start, and how has it evolved during the pandemic? 

It began with the classic “Ah-ha” moment. I realized that charitable models do not dignify the life of the people it serves, nor does it empower them to become responsible for their own condition. In fact, it sometimes creates a dependent cycle that can be dangerous. So a long time ago, I started to invest in the power of women and mothers, and it paid off. Just like educating women can provide another life of meaning, we also started recycling donated materials to provide an additional life cycle here as well. Both are transformative. We strongly believe we can transform the wellbeing of communities by activating the local economies through giving people, and the planet alike, a second chance. In this situation, the end consumer is the one with the real power because, with their participation, we can make real change. Products with style, good taste, and functionality cause more sustainable consumption. The handwoven products are made individually, with life, from our hard-working communities around Mexico.

You attended the eMRP in August 2020. What was your absolute biggest challenge prior to attending the eMRP? 

Opening new international markets and understanding their needs and ways of working.

How did that challenge make you feel?  

Upset and challenged at the same time. We felt that we were unable to deliver.

What changed after attending the eMRP? 

We felt that we weren’t ready or equipped enough to deliver. We had a huge opportunity to design products, communicate the message, and readiness to market, but we needed systems and processes in place in order to be able to export and grow. We also needed more clarity in our objectives and target customers.

What specific results can you share? 

We are coming up with brand new products designs for a new market. We are revamping our brand and communication. We are doing deeper market search and learning more about the new ways to reach audiences and take them to a simple and direct shopping experience that is smarter, and more sustainable in its roots.

What would you say to someone on the fence about joining the eMRP?   

Be open to learning and be objective about where you are and where you would like to be. Only through honesty can we become a better version of what we are. Through openness, you grow to the challenges that these times have us face. We believe our own ideas are our only true hurdle. Much more can be achieved when listening promptly and learning from constructive criticism.

How has your work/business grown since attending the eMRP? 

Well have to see! We really have come a long way from where we were. We’ve been focusing on onboarding people who could help us with the new challenges. It’s not always sufficient to mean well and DO GOOD, you have to market smartly, act upon it, and create creative and efficient results to get the messaging across.

What is your vision for your business and the future? 

Storm the market with powerful products and stories that people will want to be part of an incredible new movement that can achieve wellbeing for challenged women while simultaneously taking care of OUR environment. It can be done. You just have to focus and be resilient about it because it is a dream worth working for.

Any parting thoughts or anything else you would like to add?

I truly believe in the construction of networks of collaboration and the strength they bring forth. We need to change the perception of “I” to “we” for we all need one another. This creates a world of generosity, abundance and a kinder humanity that look out for one another.

Check out Mitz’s website, and follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!

Ready to join our network of alumni? Register for the eMarket Readiness Program TODAY!