There’s an unlikely duo making their way into the fashion industry. They are fresh-faced, eager, and ready to inspire others. They’ve projected their distinctive creativity in products that are colorful and filled with happiness — something this world has been needing for some time. Who are these new visionaries? Well, it’s none other than the mother-daughter team, Paulina and Beatriz (Betty) Anchia. Using each other as support and guidance, they created Beamina in 2017.
Beamina is a brand that carries a variety of purses. Each purse is designed by Paulina who is ONLY 12-years-old. The process is overseen by her mother. The design of the purses takes place in Puerto Rico and then they’re manufactured in Colombia. Part of their mission is to have a brand that supports people, which is why they’ve extended beyond Puerto Rico. They also donate a portion of the profits gained from Beamina to the Ricky Martin Foundation, whose proceeds go to fight against human trafficking and help the victims of natural disasters. There’s no question that Beamina is going places. Carolina Herrera personally told Paulina this.
The heart-warming story behind Beamina captivated me. Maybe it’ll happen to you as well. Or maybe not. But, one thing is for sure: This isn’t your regular brand and that should be recognized.
Find out more about them below.
Tell us a bit about Beamina. How did it start?
Betty: The brand is actually very fun.
Paulina: I have been making purses ever since I was four. I would make them out of paper and give them away. I’ve always loved making them. I was even placed in sewing lessons when I was a little girl. Later on, I started selling them to tias and other people. Well, I would still give a few away as well. *laughs* All I know is that I kept asking my mother to get the brand started, but she wouldn’t budge. I’d asked why others could do it and not us.
Betty: Well, yes. I just didn’t think it was time. I honestly just saw it as a talent. Something I did notice is that Paulina was always very mature. She saw things differently, even as a little girl. I just didn’t think much about it back then. But, everything changed when I lost my job back in 2015. It depressed me so much that I would cry every day. Imagine, I was thinking of the responsibility of being a mother, tending the house, and educating my children. It was in one of those sad days that I became enlightened. I was crying once again, but this time I was in the backyard. It was raining and I was walking on the wet grass. I kept crying asking God for a sign or anything. I felt so lost. That’s when I looked at the glass door that overlooked the backyard. At that moment I saw Paulina staring back at me. I felt so embarrassed. I thought to myself, “I need to pull myself together.” So, I went back inside the house and Paulina gifted me a book made out of printing paper and stapled together. The concept of the book was basically that the light was within the storm. That’s when she looked at me and told me once more that we should start that brand. That day I gave in. Something told me to listen to her. I still have that book to this day. I treasure it with all my heart. It helped me see things in a different way. As you can tell, we started out organically. It wasn’t premeditated. We’ve been on our journey ever since then. Little by little.
What was something you wanted to implement when creating Beamina?
Betty: We always had social consciousness. We made sure to keep the world in mind. We felt so strongly about this. In fact, Paulina would film herself making the purses and she’d call the products she used ingredients. It was always more than just a product, it was all part of us.
Paulina: We wanted to make people happy, too! Most of the time, when you open up a purse, it’s dark inside. I wanted to change that. So, when you open a Beamina purse, the lining is colorful and filled with excitement through my drawings. I believe that purses are like the soul or the heart of people and that’s why I did this. I wanted everyone to carry a world of happiness within their purses.
Betty: I also come from a humble family, so I know what it is to work for your dreams. I wanted this brand to be an inspiration.
What inspired you to create Beamina?
Betty: The project or the brand needed to have a purpose. It was important that it was impactful to the world. Besides, we thought it would be incredible if Paulina was an ambassador that would promote education. It brings me honor to say that we haven’t deviated from our original plan. The impact has definitely been noticed by the world. We even got invited to the Latin America Fashion Summit.
Oh, that’s amazing! How was the Latin America Fashion Summit?
Betty: This was really exciting because we got to open for Carolina Herrera. Everything has been falling into place.
Paulina: I was actually so nervous! I didn’t know what to say or do.
Betty: I believe that getting to where we are has been fueled by other things. I have a nice story about this.
What’s the story?
Betty: Well, we had a friend named Mariezer who was one of Beamina’s biggest fans. Sadly, she had cancer. That didn’t stop her from enjoying life, though. She was probably one of the most pleasant people we had around us. Around that time, we had also received news that we were going to participate in the Latin America Fashion Summit. Mariezer would have loved to have been there. She loved Carolina Herrera. Unfortunately, cancer defeated her. I remember that day the sky was filled with butterflies. It was something we had never seen before. It almost felt like she was bidding her farewell to us. So, we continued on. Before getting to the show, we had our dresses and shoes picked out. However, my sister came and brought me a dress with many butterflies printed on it. In her eyes, this was a way of bringing Mariezer along with us to fashion show. I took the dress and added it to the dresses I would wear while we were in Cartagena.
Paulina: Yes, this was like bringing her with us. She was very dear to us.
Betty: Anyway, we were in Cartagena, Colombia already and had been preparing for our show. It was actually the day before and we had been running around. It was around 2:30 PM and we hadn’t eaten lunch yet. So, we ended up in a restaurant named Don Juan to eat.
Paulina: A few moments after we were sat down, I saw Carolina Herrera walk in. I was telling my mom that she was there, but she hadn’t seen her.
Betty: As I am there with Paulina, I notice that someone got sat next to our table. When I looked over it was Carolina Herrera! I couldn’t believe it. Out of all the seats and she was next to us. Paulina kept telling me to talk to her, but I was so nervous. But, somehow I got the courage to speak to her. I got her attention and introduced myself and Paulina. She was very sweet. Her daughter even took pictures of us with her!
Paulina: We told her about our brand and how we were opening for the show the next day. She was surprised to learn that I was the one designing the purses. Carolina Herrera, herself, told me that she had a feeling I was going to be big.
Betty: I must mention, I was wearing the butterfly dress that day. This was somehow Marizier’s doing. The next day, Carolina Herrera made sure she was there early to watch our show. She didn’t need to do this since her show was later, but she did. It was a very special day for both Paulina and me.
I noticed that in Beamina’s website, it states that both you and Paulina come from a lineage of creative women. Do you believe this is what drives both of you?
Betty: Absolutely. Paulina’s great-grandmother used to sew so beautifully. Actually, I grew up around thread, laces, and sewing kits. My family thought I was going to be the designer or something like that, but it didn’t work out that way. But, as you can see, Paulina did get that gene. Her grandmother must be having a party in Heaven because of this.
Both of you are Puerto Rican-Cuban, right?
Betty: Both my parents are Cuban. However, due to the Cuban exile, my parents ended up in Puerto Rico. I was born in Puerto Rico and so was Paulina. But, we have both bloodlines.
Do you travel often to Colombia to see the product?
Betty: Yes, we actually do. We’ve gone to Bógota, Medellín, and Cartagena. We also go to make sure everything is in order. We care a lot about Colombia and our consumers. They have allowed us to create our products responsibly.
What do you mean when you say that you create your products responsibly?
Betty: Since we are allies of the Ricky Martin Foundation, we wanted to pay attention to every detail. We didn’t want to be associated with any hostile environment. This means we didn’t want anyone working on our products to be abused or have anyone be treated unjustly. All of the people that work alongside us are family-oriented. We also support the indigenous groups of la Guajira in Colombia. To us, maintaining the Colombian culture is extremely important. That’s why we support them and provide them with jobs. By doing this, we are doing our part in standing alongside with other Latinx cultures. In our opinion, this is necessary for the growth of Latinx communities all around.
How did you come up with the name Beamina?
Paulina: This is because my brother, Paulo, couldn’t say my name when I was born. He would call me “Amina.” The name “Amina” actually means warrior queen. So, we added the word “Be,” that way people could “be warriors” with our bags.
How does it feel to be one of the youngest designers in the world?
Paulina: Obviously, super cool *laughs*
Betty: Even then, Paulina has a very normal life. She enjoys regular activities like soccer, volleyball, and basketball. Paulina is very humble and loves helping out as well. Every year we go to the Dominican Republic and give out toys and clothes to those people in need for Three Kings Day. It has become our ritual and Paulina is always up for it.
What can you tell other parents of creative children?
Betty: As a mother, I believe in the development of humanity. In some way, we are responsible in helping out with this development. What helps us out is that each person is born with their own special gift. We have to be vigilant of those gifts. For example, I noticed that Paulina was talented. I knew this was significant for her development, so I allowed her to be who she was supposed to be. So, if your child sings, draws, or whatever their talent is, please allow it to develop. These gifts or talents need to be supported. Just like Superwoman, we all have talents.
Is Beamina ever going to extend to other products, such as clothing?
Paulina: We think that we will.
Betty: Yes, little by little. That’s the plan.
Any advice for aspiring Latinx business owners and designers?
Paulina: If you dream it, go ahead with it. Don’t ever think that you can’t do it.
Betty: Believe in yourselves! Don’t be afraid.