By Zaida Diaz
Name: Marcela Alejandra Arrieta
Nickname: Ale or Marz
Hometown: Lynwood, CA
Founder of Majestic Bliss Soaps
Words to live by: Whatever you create with your hands is a direct expression of your heart. Don’t feel ashamed to ask for help. Take ME time. Focus on where you want to go, not on what you fear.
Can you give us some background about yourself?
I was born to a single mother in a small town of Los Altos de Jalisco, Mexico. At the age of three, my mother and I crossed the U.S. border illegally. We lived in Boyle Heights for a few years before relocating to Lynwood. Life was challenging and I attempted to take my life twice at the age of 13. By high school I really wasn’t feeling life. Luckily I met my future husband at my quinceañera. We ran away when I was 17 and soon after this I became pregnant.
Life went on, but in 2003 (soon before the birth of our second son) I began one of the most important transformations yet. I was a stay at home mom and decided to start a business. That one failed, I began another and the same fate followed. By 2011 my spirit felt defeated. Crushed by the hands of fear and disappointment. I relinquished all forms of faith – a step away from becoming an atheist. This is when something so precious found me. Pranic Healing empowered me to transform my thoughts and words. They gave way to positive actions. I saw people and all things wonderful and full of life. Gratitude engulfed my heart and soul.
Soon after I embarked on a journey to become a holistic practitioner. From this Majestic Bliss Soaps was born. Three and a half years later, with the support of my family we continue to grow. Extending beyond conventional soap, our mission is to empower the well-being of humanity and the animal kingdom. Reflecting back on life, I always knew my purpose in life involved learning through challenge so that one day I could become an effective communicator.
What were you doing before you started your business?
I had a very successful career managing the human resources department for a well-known corporation. Soon after I transitioned into a full-time housewife and mommy-hood.
What inspired you to make handcrafted soaps?
My clients. After their holistic treatment they always requested ways to extend or return to that state of “bliss” they achieved at their session.
When did you realize that you wanted to make it a business?
I saw an opportunity when my clients began to express interest in using quality and vegan products that aligned with their lifestyle.
Was it always important for you to create a vegan product?
One day when I was sitting in class I heard my teacher say, “When you show the animal kingdom mercy, you will be shown mercy.” This quote was engraved in my mind forever and paved the way towards the creation of a vegan product line.
From conception to production, did you ever have any pivoting points?
YES! So many but one that truly stands out above the others. We realized that in order to create a quality product we had to become efficient. My husband thrives in all things manufacturing. Because of his expertise in this field he designed the layout of the warehouse. We where able to produce a reasonably priced product without sacrificing quality.
As far as the business side of things, was there anything that you had to teach yourself along the way (whether it be marketing, branding, etc.)?
Everything! It was so important to surround myself with people who brought knowledge and value. A major challenge of mine was asking for help, I realized very soon I could not and should not try to do it ALL myself.
You’re products are sold in Whole Foods among other retailers, how did this come about?
I used fear to my advantage. From the beginning of the company I always envisioned our brand front and center at Whole Foods. Then fear would kick in, until one day I asked myself, “Do you really want to live not knowing what could have been?” I reached out to the closest store, made an appointment. I walked in with my head help up high, confident and pretty much explained why they needed us. Things just materialized from there.
Where you ever hesitant or did you ever doubt yourself throughout the process?
Of course! I still do on occasions. The difference is how I deal with the feelings, emotions and thoughts. I learned how to deal with them because of Pranic Healing.
How do you balance parenthood and running your own business?
It’s a very challenging thing to do. Between my husband and I we do our best to take time with the boys. A few days out of the week we dedicate to family time only. No business (and it’s tempting) just fun.
What three main things make for a thriving business?
- Quality ingredients at a fraction of the price.
- Produce efficiently without sacrificing quality. (This makes you competitive.)
- Hit the floor and get customers.