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Name: Claudia Gutierrez
Business: ClaudiaG Collection
Location: Houston, Texas, U.S.
Industry: Apparel & Accessories
Reason for starting? I always had a passion for jewelry and handbags, and from a young age I knew I had to incorporate it somehow to my career. I started making my own jewelry and selling it to friends and family, and soon enough I was selling it in boutiques around the country. I created the brand ClaudiaG, boutique-style beautifully handcrafted and sophisticated handbags, versatile accessories and on-trend jewelry.
In 2014, I attended a conference about direct sales, which inspired me to embrace this business model as the way to empower other women to take control of their own careers. So I decided to completely change the ClaudiaG business, repositioning the company for strong future growth with female entrepreneurs joining nationwide. Today ClaudiaG Collection is providing women a unique, life-changing career opportunity by allowing them to start their own business through ours. It offers personal growth, financial independence and close-knit network of support from other women in all aspects of life.
My decision to start my own business was made early on. I was brought up in a family of entrepreneurs. I remember listening to my parents’ conversations and they were always evaluating a new venture. Both my mom and dad started their own businesses when I was growing up so that’s what I learned early on. The only question was the product or service my company would provide. It took some soul searching to find out what my true passions were, but once I did I was determined to make it happen no matter what. Today, I enjoy working in fashion, combining colors and textures, and following trends. At the same time, I’m creating the means to fulfill my passion to make a difference in people’s lives.
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How do you define success? I personally measure success in the positive impact I can make in others’ lives. I strongly believe that giving back and sharing, learning in the process and growing overall naturally brings well-being and the satisfaction of pursuing a meaningful life. I’ve made this a core value for the company and we are very intentional about giving back. We started the Share my Share program in which we’re able to put a portion of the income of every single product sold to charity organizations that provide children with health care, education, nutrition and hope for a bright future. We’re also dedicated to helping other women launch their careers to help them become entrepreneurs and financially independent. Allowing so many women to do that through us is success.
Biggest success: Our biggest success to date happened this past Christmas. We were able to surprise the entire staff of the Arrow Foundation (www.arrow.org) with thank-you packages for all the hard work they do day in and day out to support foster care and abused children around the country. The Arrow Foundation was a charity that we wanted to give back to, because it means a lot for us to help underprivileged children. We’re able to make donations through out the year, but the Christmas surprise was one I’ll never forget. It was very emotional for me to see my dream come to life, having created the means to give back, and finding that our consultants stand by these same values. It only makes me want to push harder and further, there is so much we can do together!
What is your top challenge and how you have addressed it? My biggest challenge once I started a family was to be a dedicated wife and at the same time, have a successful career. I love working every day but I was not ready to give up a family life for a career. Now I understand it’s possible and the direct sales industry is the perfect avenue for women like myself who want to do it all. I enjoy being able to manage my time and never miss my kids’ soccer games. I found a way to enjoy a very fulfilling life and I want to share it with women who are in that same situation. Through ClaudiaG, I want to empower women to find that balance and experience it themselves.
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Who is your most important role model? My grandmother back in my country of Colombia. Currently 90 years old, she has dedicated her life to the service of others and I have seen firsthand the resulting good she’s brought to the world, as well as the strength and peace it has brought her personally. One of the big things she does is organizing and leading the first and now largest League Against Cancer organization in her region, helping thousands of underprivileged people over the years and always trying to do more! She’s a true inspiration.
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Edited by The Story Exchange