The Modest Beginnings and Marvelous Journey of Mackech Jewelry
Mackech Jewelry LLC
Georgina Herrera | Overland Park, Kan. | Main Street
We Create KC, our annual report on the state of Kansas City entrepreneurship, will hit the shelves and URLs this Friday, April 6. This is our fifth report, and this year we are focusing on the six imperatives the community laid out to reach Kansas City's goal of becoming America's most entrepreneurial city:
- maximizing entrepreneurial support resources
- telling the story of KC entrepreneurship
- creating a strong entrepreneurial pipeline
- building talent
- engaging the corporate community
- increasing available startup and growth capital.
In KC's state of entrepreneurship report, we also celebrate the people who are helping to make Kansas City a great place to play, work and live, from our 240+ Resource Partners to civic leaders, from ecosystem builders to entrepreneurs, like Georgina Herrera.
The origin stories for some small businesses are unassuming. You see something you like, say, a particular brand of Mexican jewelry, and you share it with your friends. Then the tide rises, a good idea is born on the rushing waves of word of mouth: your friends share it with theirs, you turn a good find into a flourishing resale business and then flash forward four years, and you’re opening up a retail store in Leawood, Kansas and accepting an award as the Women Minority-Owned Businesses of the Year 2015.
That’s the modest beginning and marvelous journey behind Mackech Jewelry, a wholesale and retail jewelry company founded by Georgina Herrera in 2010 (third from left, in the picture above.) We met Georgina through the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, one of KCSourceLink’s 240+ Resource Partners who help KC small business start and grow, and asked her to share the story, struggles and successes behind growing a business.
How did Mackech Jewelry start?
I decided to bring Mackech to the United States because of its previous success in other markets. I started by introducing the collection at little parties held in people’s homes.
As I had anticipated, the brand was very well received. I started receiving phone calls from people who had seen the jewelry pieces on friends and wanted to purchase the jewelry for themselves. I was able to build a new clientele fairly quickly. At the same time, I worked at getting the brand in front of merchandisers at different retail stores.
In May of 2011, I became an official supplier for a Sam’s Club store in Houston, Texas, that catered primarily to the Hispanic market. In 2013, I became an official supplier for all Sam’s Club stores in the United States. In 2014, I opened the first Mackech retail store in Leawood, Kansas. Currently, you can find Mackech brand in different retail stores around the United States.
What inspired you to start your business?
I began my career as an International trade sales representative in Mexico. I learned a lot about sales, and I traveled extensively throughout Mexico and Europe.
When my first son was born, I realized the travel schedule was going to be difficult. I started looking for other business opportunities that would allow me to work from home. I began working in the jewelry market with the Mackech brand, a prominent Mexico-based jewelry brand. I took Mackech to department stores in Mexico, South America, and Europe.
In 2006, my husband was offered a job promotion in the United States. This was a very exciting opportunity for him, but it was a challenge for my Mexico-based jewelry business. We moved to Kansas, and I started looking for opportunities to bring the Mackech brand here.
Starting a business in a new country is not easy. My English was poor, and I lacked the business contacts in the United States. I started out by working with an English tutor to improve my language skills. I also had to develop additional skills beyond my skills as a successful salesperson. I took courses in finance and business management, which included detailed instruction in budgeting, accounting, invoicing, retailing, Excel, strategic planning, etc. I continue to take additional business classes as I evolve as an entrepreneur.
What resources have helped you along the way?
Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Greater Kansas City
Leawood Chamber of Commerce
How did you finance your business?
I started my business with limited funds from my savings account. In 2013, when I became an official supplier for all Sam’s Club stores, my husband and I took a personal line of credit to fund the much larger inventory needed at the outset. That line of credit has been paid off and Mackech is now fully self-funded.
What is the biggest challenge your business has faced?
People did not know the brand, so I think that was the biggest challenge. Thanks to the support of the chambers, social media, magazine advertisement, fashion shows and charity sponsor events the brand has gained recognition.
In the times got tough, what inspired you to keep going?
When I made the decision to build the brand, I knew it was not going to be easy specially after seeing how many businesses had failed before us. I made a two-year commitment to see how things were going to turn out, so I did have an escape plan if needed it, but thanks to the interaction with my customers/associates (Latin and American) and seeing the struggle they go day by day, I knew I could not fail them and that is where my strength to keep coming.
Being Hispanic…Does it have any influence on your business?
Mackech is an international jewelry brand from Mexico that brings to the United States unique designs that merge current fashion trends with the Mayan culture. There are no other brands like ours in the Midwest.
We are the only brand to bring a modern clean design with a unique meaning in each jewelry piece
Mackech is 100 percent Hispanic, the brand and the team, everything.
What do you need to be an entrepreneur?
Have an idea, take the risk, start a business—and always supporting your community.
Connect with Mackech Jewelry