Mavis Carolina Herrera is the Founder, CEO and Sustainable Designer at Mavis by Herrera, a San Diego, California-based company using natural and recycled materials to create sustainable, luxury handbags. Mavis, who grew up in San Quintin, Baja California in Mexico, is an entrepreneur, photographer, cyclist, and solo traveler. She is also a self-described purpose driven leader and risk taker. She started Mavis by Herrera because she felt she needed to be part of the “Plastic Pollution” solution.
What does “entrepreneurship” mean to you?
Mavis Carolina Herrera: Entrepreneurship for me is impact & freedom. I have the freedom to choose the things and values that are aligned with myself and the company without having to lose my integrity and my purpose in life.
Tell us about your first experience with entrepreneurship.
MH: Great question! It was back when I was in college and had the idea to bring an international art mural project to my hometown in San Quintin, Baja California, Mexico. I organized the first Art Festival free event. We painted twelve Murals and raffled six bikes and toys to the kids. Raising money was hard, but I did it.
What is your company’s origin story? What is the biggest reason you started your business?
MH: I started Mavis by Herrera with the idea to design a beautiful sustainable bag that will speak for the planet and for the people making and carrying the bag. My biggest reason why I started my business was to be the change that our world needs. We need more companies taking responsibility in their production and end-life cycle, and I want it to be that company. I want to be the change and lead by example.
What did those early days look like and teach you?
MH: I have learned from different industries and people what not to do and who I do not want to be.
What do you wish you knew when you started? Is there anything you would do differently?
MH: I started Mavis by Herrera a few months before the pandemic, but I have no regrets. The pandemic teaches me a new version of myself on how to operate with purpose and to be more transparent with my customers.
What does “success” look like for you? We’d love to hear your biggest, boldest dream? What do you think will help you achieve it?
MH: Success is when I run out of recycled plastic that I no longer have to make the bags! That’s when our oceans will be free from plastic and no more animals will die. Now that’s a bold dream! 🙂
On a personal level, success also means changing lives and helping kids in need.
One of my biggest dreams is to have my own entrepreneur school for underserved individuals and help them achieve their dreams. I also want to promote more self-love and self-acceptance in the fashion industry and around any industry. Last, another dream is to help individuals with trauma or abusive relationships and help them recover. I have many dreams that all involve helping individuals, because everyone deserves to live a life with dignity and respect.
What is your superpower as an entrepreneur? What is your proudest and darkest moment so far?
MH: My superpower is my integrity, you have to be honest with yourself so you can be honest to the world.
My proudest moment has been opening my eyes and enjoying another day in this beautiful life.
My darkest moment was when I heard the doctor say that my heart could stop at any moment. At that time, I was in ICU because my heart rate dropped at 28bpm.
Share a key high and a key low from your journey if you can.:
MH: Key High – Always believe in yourself because you must have to be your biggest cheerleader in life.
Key Low: Let go of perfectionism because your company and you must evolve.
What are your personal driving principals, your top values?
MH: My top value is integrity. I am driven by things that are aligned with my values and purpose in life.
My values and MAVIS BY HERRERA values are aligned with integrity and purpose driven. “Everything we do is with a sustainable purpose that is good for the planet and people”
Give us some examples. For instance, during the production process of our bags we ask at every step if this is good for the environment and for the people? If the answer is yes, we continue. If not, we go back and fix it.
What’s it like to work alone?
MH: Working alone can be hard sometimes, but honestly, I am never alone. I am always talking with my production and coming up with new innovative ideas.
Do you have a mentor? Tell us about what makes them valuable to you and your business?
MH: Yes, I have two amazing mentors that have supported my journey since day one. When things are bad, they remind me why I started and help me to reconnect back with my purpose.
What role does mentorship play in your world (as a mentor or mentee)?
MH: A big one it’s good to see things from a different perspective and having someone who believes in you is priceless.
Many entrepreneurs continue to perfect their daily routines to support their work and greater vision; would you mind sharing your morning routine or a regular ritual that grounds your work each day?
MH: I wake up around 5:30am and have a coffee in silence. I enjoy the morning silence and around 7am I go out for a bike ride (20- 40 miles bike ride) then it is all about work and fun things!
What are you reading or have read?
MH: The Happiness of Pursuit [by Chris Guillebeau]
Where do you go for inspiration?
MH: God and Nature.
Do you have a favorite quote, mantra, or words of wisdom to get through the tough days?
MH: “Be honest with yourself, so you can be honest with the world”
What is a problem that keeps you up at night?
MH: That I am too hard on myself and thinking that I need to do more or what I am doing is not enough.
How do you think about helping others through your work?
MH: I love it! This is why I started my company.
What advice do you have for fellow (and aspiring) entrepreneurs building and leading teams?
MH: Lead by example and learn to listen and make everyone feel like they matter, because they do.
What kind of an entrepreneur do you want to be known as – as in, what do you want your legacy to be?
MH: I want to be remembered as a purpose-driven person who pursued their dream and created a positive impact on the planet and people’s lives.
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