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Meet Luminary Member, Suzan Hernandez


Luminary Member Suzan Hernandez 

Tell us a bit about yourself! How did you get started with your current career path/business journey?

On a consulting trip to Peru during my first year in business school, I visited Machu Picchu, in complete awe of the beauty of the Andes. Standing quite literally in the clouds, I couldn’t help thinking about how connected the Incan people were to Pachamama, or their Earth Mother. There was this magical energy as I walked among the ruins, truly something I had never experienced before. As we were leaving, our guide turned to us and said, “Peruvians believe that if we take care of Pachamama, she will in turn take care of us.” At that moment I understood how interconnected we are with the planet, that we need to care for it and all living things in order for Pachamama to care for us. MamaP’s name is inspired by Pachamama — taking ancient wisdom and bringing it to modern times. If Pachamama were a person today, she’d want you to call her MamaP for short.

After moving to New York City and following the advice that Marie Kondo shares in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up — cleansing, decluttering, and releasing what no longer serves us — I became intentional with what I brought into my home. I wanted to surround myself with things that aligned with my values and beliefs of helping the planet while giving back. I also wanted the products to be beautiful because I had made my home beautiful. The challenge was finding things that met my criteria. So, I decided to create these essentials for myself starting with bamboo toothbrushes. A toothbrush is something used multiple times a day, needs to be replaced frequently, and is likely to be made of plastic. Bamboo toothbrushes already in the market weren’t beautifully designed and often came packaged and shipped in plastic. The category was ripe for reinvention, so I jumped in and ordered 5,000 units of a thoughtfully designed, well-made bamboo toothbrush knowing one of two things would happen: they’d sell out or I’d be set with toothbrushes for life.

What behavior or personality trait do you most attribute your success to, and why?

Grit - it's the perseverance and passion for achieving long-term goals. Grit entails working strenuously to overcome challenges and maintaining effort and interest over time despite failures, adversities, and plateaus in progress.

What’s a mistake you made early on in your career, or in your business, and what did you learn from it?

For the first product run I hadn’t considered that retailers might actually buy the toothbrushes! When I received my first wholesale orders, I had to figure out UPC barcodes and think about in-store displays. Early displays were made of up-cycled cigar boxes from the flea market, and I printed, cut and applied UPC stickers — individually — to every box. My partner helped because wholesale orders were coming in faster than I could ship. We sat on the floor at night for hours, printing, cutting, sticking and packing orders. The next day he carried the boxes to the local post office. Living in a sixth-floor walkup was an added challenge! Looking back, I advise packaged goods startups to think about their wholesale strategy early on in order to plan for and visualize the end point.

What’s one professional skill you’re currently working on?

Balancing being fair and firm as a leader - and breaking stereotypes women leaders face.

How do you invite others to take a seat at the table?

I encourage people to speak up and make their voice heard.

What is one thing you wish you knew a year ago?

Find virtual assistants to help with simple administrative tasks that are time sucks. Upwork is my go-to for hiring VAs. Many of our VAs have been with the company for a while now and are members of the team.

What impact has Luminary made in your career? eg: Business Generated, Revenue, New Clients, Career Connections, Advancement Opportunities 

Working in the Luminary space energizes me and I love having meetings in the space. I feel incredibly supported.


Connect with Suzan!