Ursula Galindo is a 38-year-old woman from Mexico who owns a small business called Aaltia Handmade Soaps. She moved to Oakland Park, Florida, with her husband in 2012. She graduated from college with a degree in Human Resources and Management, but her Visa did not allow her to work in the United States. While she enjoyed being a housewife, she felt it was important to develop a skilled trade with a purpose; she wanted to be able to contribute to the environment.
Ursula became interested in soap making because she had always been concerned about toxic chemicals being released into the water streams. She regularly consumed organic and eco-friendly products, and, eventually, she decided to start learning about which products she could make at home.
At first, she made soap for her own household and shared some of her products with family and friends. The response was great. They encouraged her to pursue soap making as a business. Ursula did not hesitate. She bought books to learn more about it.
“Many people told me I could profit from it. It wasn’t a difficult decision. It was almost like a natural transition, but the motivation was not to do this for a profit; I wanted to help people who needed natural handmade products to live a healthy lifestyle in an environment-friendly manner.”
In 2015, she launched her online store. She quickly developed a pool of regular customers. She shares that the satisfaction of owning a business did not come from being competitive; it came from caring for the environment.
“We rarely think about the end result of our daily habits; plant life, soil, water, and animals are harmed by the products we use. So by using natural and organic products, we are supporting a healthier level of care for our planet. There is always something we can do to live a little bit greener, why not start with something we do every day?”
She earned people’s trust and loyalty by being honest and communicating her ideas to them. Thanks to this, she felt welcomed in the community because customers appreciated her products as much as they appreciated her commitment to her mission. She used her business to educate others about the harmful effects of regular household products. “By changing what we do daily, we can have a major impact on our lives and the environment. My goal is for people to understand that by using natural and eco-friendly products for their body, they are also being kind to the earth. It makes a big impact!”
Through her efforts, she was able to find many other like-minded individuals who shared her passion and who applauded her mission. She also supports other similar businesses because, like her, they provide alternative products for purpose rather than profit.
“I don’t see them as competitors. I see them as a community where everyone is invested in others’ success and well-being.”
In terms of business development, she says the conditions are ideal for those who want to get started.
“This is a really good time and place to get started. Before it was all about large corporations and now people are more conscious of their purchasing power and how it impacts their own communities. When they buy from small local business owners, they promote growth in the area. Communities are well-balanced when people support each other.”
She advises people who are unemployed to learn a skilled trade. She believes that when people are in need they can be very resourceful and creative. This motivates them to get started in whatever endeavor they want to pursue.
When asked about what type of advice she would give to people who are thinking about starting a business but might be hesitant about it, she shared:
“Find like-minded people because they will motivate you to get going. If you want to get started, just do it. It really doesn’t matter where you are, the idea is to start. If you don’t start, now you’ll never know how the story ends. You will trip and fall many times, and will regret many decisions. I made many mistakes, but you will learn along the way. There is no formula for success. It is likely that you will mess up, but gain perspective and do not give up.”
Ursula is satisfied knowing that she is making a contribution to the planet. She plans to go back to her country as soon as her husband finishes his contract. She will continue to run her business from Mexico with the knowledge and experience that she has gained. Her goal is to continue educating people about their consumption habits and the choices they make on daily basis.
She continues to live in Florida with her husband and their dogs Rico Suave, Cleo, and Baku, whom they consider family.