Hands are the world’s rudimentary tool. Our hands verify the tangible from the abstract. They exhibit the possibilities of humanity.
Maritza Garcia made known this beautiful truth to me; she claims “Your hands can make a miracle, once a piece of paper can be a beautiful piece of art.” Garcia, the founder and owner of Miracle Hands Candles, sculpts beautiful artisanal candles. Her chosen medium of clay is reminiscent to that of her ancestors, who used their hands to interpret and mold the wet ground.
Garcia uses the Mayan people as the template for her creations, “We came from the Mayan culture. We work a lot with the clay, because it’s natural.” Guatemala, the core of Mayan culture, is Garcia’s native home.
At eight years old, Garcia’s mother and godmother brought her to an artisan organization (founded by her godmother), where she first learned the art of pottery, candle crafting, and 13 other art forms. She accredits this organization for the awakening of her artistic passions in her adolescence. Garcia claims that her love for art was and is an intrinsic part of her being–never learned, only realized. However, after she earned a marketing degree in college, she briefly halted her creation of pottery.
In 2000, Garcia came to America with her husband and two children. She worked a plethora of jobs. She reminisces “I was once a nanny, a waitress, and a teacher. I also worked in cleaning and construction.”
Nevertheless, in 2015, Garcia asked her husband and her children if she could use money that was saved to start her business. Their invaluable support and Garcia’s determination made her dream tangible. Garcia comments “I showed that it’s true, we [women] can do something, we can do something important in America. The American dream is not just to come here and work for somebody else.” In her love for fragrances, ceramics, and candles, she began her business Miracle Hands Candles.
Garcia named her first design “Margaret, in memory of my mom. Her name is Margarita, so I created one part with the Margaret flower.”
Yet, Garcia found it challenging to market in America. When a friend told her about Empowered Women International, she began to take interest in attending classes. After she called EWI’s Herndon offices, she decided to enroll in EWI’s entrepreneurship classes.
In Entrepreneur Training for Success (ETS), she learned how to create a business plan. But, most significantly, she learned “to value my product. I looked at my product like I was selling candles but I [realized] that I was not just selling candles, I was selling small pieces of art.” Additionally, she learned how to price her product, marketing strategies for the American market, and networking. She found it empowering to be around other women of diverse backgrounds, who constantly offered their feedback and encouragement.
Garcia states “I think women do very well in business because we are always thinking about the economy and about budgets, such as the budget of a house. Women are very creative. If we are empowered, we can work together, we can empower each and inspire each other. Empowered Women International is the best place I know to learn and empower each other and to learn how to market and create any business.”
Garcia speaks of EWI as a major contributor in sculpting her objective of being a recognized artisan. She claims that she wants “to be recognized as a woman in business and as a [hispanic] woman in the American business.”
Garcia’s advice to women with business aspirations?
“Go to EWI. Because [women] can start the easy way if they start with a business plan and good materials. It’s not just learning, but self-empowerment, which is very important.”
She believes that EWI is “active, they love what they are doing. If we [women] have help, we can do something. Not just for our family, but also for the community, our country and every other country.”
Garcia calls hands miracles. Such extraordinary hands have the ability to mold even the toughest ground.
By Amara Evering, EWI’s Summer Editorial Intern