Today we’d like to introduce you to Patricia Chourio.
Patricia, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I started my journey as an entrepreneur last year while I was living in Hanoi, Vietnam. I had been living in SE Asia for 2 years, working and volunteering for various non-profit organizations. During that time, I was able to learn about the traditions, lifestyle and difficulties ethnic minority groups face daily, especially women. I wanted to start a project where we could share their beautiful traditions and stories of resilience while opening opportunities for them to create an additional income to support their families and communities.
The World’s Corner is a combination of some of the things I love the most, it involves storytelling, photography and sustainability, all in one place! The most important thing to me is to build close relationships with the artisans we work with, their stories give me the motivation to keep going!
We’ve grown tremendously over the past year. We started working with one group of young artisans from the Hmong minority group that lived in Hanoi and we are now collaborating with five other artisans and cooperatives from different minority groups living in Northern and Central Vietnam, Papua New Guinea and Guatemala. We have also participated in several artisan markets here in Atlanta including Wonderroot Maker Market and we are getting ready for Dames and Dregs Festival and Avondale Estates Art Walk in the fall.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It definitely hasn’t been a smooth road but we persevere ☺! While I was in SE Asia I was barely making enough money to support myself. I used what little I had in my savings to move to Cambodia so I had no capital to start a business whatsoever. But just as they say “where there’s a will, there’s a way” things just started to come through.
I started to connect with artisans and learn more about them and their craftsmanship and that kept me motivated and made me realize that their stories and traditions are worth preserving. Sometimes we also have all these expectations about a business, how it should look like or how successful it should be and no matter how much you try, it’s hard to let those expectations go. I’ve struggled to find a balance and not take things too personally but I think that can be a bit hard when you are so connected to a project and you are so passionate about its mission.
I encountered many difficulties along the way, from heartbreak to the uncertainty that comes when you are living abroad by yourself to feeling like you’re not qualified to do anything! Still, I was lucky to realize that all these experiences, all the failures and successes were a learning experience to help me build a stronger version of myself.
I find it very important for people to understand the value of the product they are purchasing. There’s a lot of effort, passion and stories behind our products. Sometimes it’s hard for people to appreciate and find value in something that it’s not a brand name or recognized in the media but we try to highlight that when you purchase something from us, you are helping create an impact and improving someone’s livelihood. This can be difficult at times but I have hope that with movements such as the Fashion Revolution, people are becoming more aware of the importance of slow fashion and handmade items.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into The World’s Corner story. Tell us more about the business.
The World’s Corner is an online store and blog offering handmade products crafted by women artisans from ethnic minority groups. We purchase goods directly from the artisans in small collections for a fair price, then send an additional premium to our artists when their entire collection has sold.
We also share their stories on our blog and social media channels. All of our products are made with natural materials and handmade by the artisans we work with.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I’ve been lucky to have a network of family members and friends who have been very supportive. I’m originally from Venezuela and we moved to Atlanta 14 years ago due to all the political instability in the country. My parents sacrificed their careers and left their families behind so I could have a better, safe future. Although it hasn’t been easy, we are lucky to have each other. My mom is not only my business partner but also my therapist, advisor, cheerleader and just overall best friend. She supports all my decisions and is never surprised whenever I tell her one of my crazy ideas.
I know everyone says this, but I really do have the best friends anyone could ask for! From visiting us at the markets to buying our products and even modeling for our photos, they are always there when I need them the most.
I’ve also had the support of organizations and groups that helped me network and connect with like-minded entrepreneurs, for example, We Create Vietnam, Plywood People, Wonderroot, Atlanta Friends of Fairtrade, and the list goes on and on. The journey of an entrepreneur is a rough one and it can be lonely and confusing at times, you are constantly questioning your decisions, that’s why it’s important to build a community of people who love you and know you and your values.
- Website: www.theworldscorner.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: _theworldscorner_
- Facebook: theworldscornercom