In celebration of our 15 years empowering women, we are excited to introduce a retrospective collection of success stories from previous EWI alumnae. One of EWI’s board members, Howie Feinstein, is the contributing writer for this series.
Emigrating to the U.S. from war-torn Colombia, Floralba Camargo worked for years in the financial industry, but opportunities for advancement were periodically blocked by her status as a Latina woman. And her job, while providing an income, did not match her passion: home-organizing.
“The passion started at a young age in my native country, Colombia. I learned the importance of organization quickly, when I noticed how much more efficient and productive I could be with less clutter in my house. When I moved to the United States, I gained a lot of experience assisting others by maximizing space in their homes. I began helping family and friends first, and now Sunflower Home Organizer has allowed me to blossom and be able to offer my help to anyone who seeks my services.”
“As a personal home organizer, I listen to people’s personal needs, and then begin a unique journey with each individual on a mission to complete projects when needed. Having a clutter-free home allows people to live in a stress-free environment, where they can make better use of their time, be more efficient, or simply be able to relax and enjoy their home with family and loved ones. What I love most about what I do is inspiring people to continue to be organized on their own.”
The inspiration for Sunflower Home Organizer took root at Empowered Women International, to which Floralba was introduced by her fellow soccer player and EWI board member Melissa Reitkopp. In EWI’s Entrepreneur Training for Success course, Floralba learned the nuts and bolts of establishing a business, essential for transforming her passion into a going concern:
“I loved it from the first. It was grueling, but I dedicated myself to my goal. I learned a lot, and got great support from other women, all following our passions. And I was able to help the other Spanish-speaking women. We encouraged each other. EWI has helped me gain more confidence and to be a stronger woman. I now have a more positive attitude, and believe in myself.”
Floralba sees this increased confidence has the key to her personal growth as well as her business success, which continues to flourish. In March of this year, she stepped away from her day job, to follow her passion full-time. Sunflower has impressively diversified, expanding into dog-sitting, gardening and landscaping, shopping services, and storage. Whatever the client needs, Sunflower aims to take that task off their hands. Floralba markets aggressively through a variety of platforms: social media, website, retail bulletin boards, personal appearances at public and private events, etc. The confidence and enthusiasm she now exudes is contagious, resulting in a steady stream of repeat business and word-of-mouth referrals. “I love to help people. My confidence can inspire them. I can see it on my clients’ faces.”
Foralba continues to take advantage of opportunities to build on her success to date. She has taken home improvement and design classes at Montgomery College, and is studying for the examination for her home improvement license. Her competitive spirit and confidence have been passed on to her daughter, who plays for the Colombian national soccer team and competes professionally in Europe. Floralba herself still plays on occasion, and follows both the Colombian and U.S. national teams. Don’t bet against her, in any endeavor!