In Paola Miranda’s expert hands, scraps of felt and wool become multi-colored flowers and cute little fairies. Handicrafts have always been part of her life: she started making trinkets and decorative items when she was just ten years old. Creating bracelets and necklaces and designing Christmas decorations was a childhood hobby and, above all, a pretty gift for members of her family.
Now, 27 years later, this childhood pastime has become a business that has led her to exhibit her creations at craft fairs in the VII Maule region, the Chilean municipality where she lives.
She never stopped making handicrafts, not even when she was studying accountancy, or afterwards, when she worked for four years in a supermarket.
That was when she decided to be an entrepreneur, to be her own boss. And what better way of making the most of her years of experience and her already extensive knowhow in the design of costume jewelry and decorations. That was how “Artesanía Paola” and her career as a micro-entrepreneur were born.
In 2010, her mother encouraged her to reach out to Fondo Esperanza, BBVA Microfinance Foundation’s institution in Chile. As part of the “Villa Unida” lending group, and with the loans the institution has given her, she bought materials for her business.
“You have to learn how to be responsible, financing helps you have a clear goal of what you want. There are people who don’t have the capacity to get a loan, Fondo Esperanza believes in you and gives you that opportunity”, explains Paola.
“I don’t stay at home waiting for someone to sort out my life. I go out and look for the opportunity”
That support, together with her drive to get on and her day-to-day hard work, has enabled her to sell her products at trade fairs from Santiago de Chile to Los Ángeles. “I don’t stay at home waiting for someone to sort out my life. I go out and look for the opportunity”, she declares.
Her dream is to have a workshop with enough space to exhibit her creations and to fill the shop-window with flowers, earrings and scarves, while she continues to keep alive the childhood hobby that she has turned into her business.