Masshii is an El Salvadorean owned business that employs deaf women who are trained in crafting handmade accessories. Masshii uses unconventional, environmentally friendly materials in their jewelry to make exquisite pieces.
Realizing A Dream
Masshii was the dream of owner, Maria Waygin Suriano Shi. She dreamt of starting a business that would not only empower people but that would be environmentally sustainable. She has done just that. In becoming an entrepreneur and starting her own business, she is combining two of her greatest passions: travel and fashion. Masshii’s motto is, “Make a statement to make a difference.”
Making a Social & Sustainable Difference
Through employment of deaf and mute women in El Salvador, they not only train them in making the accessories but also empower them. Masshii provides fair employment and allows the women to contribute their own ideas to the pieces. So far, they have employed over 30 deaf women since its inception.
Masshii has multiple collections that are inspired by the owner’s life and travels. These collections include the China/El Salvador Collection, inspired by both Chinese and El Salvadorean cultures, combining the two cultures of the owner, Maria. There are also the Morocco Collection, the Greece Collection, and the Turkey Collection. With each piece, the designers portray the culture and history of the country.
Using recyclable and upcycled items, the artisans use materials like recycled electric cables, inner tubes, tagua seeds, magazines, fish scales, and PET bottles.
Just as most businesses, starting Masshii didn’t come without challenges. Maria describes one of her biggest challenges as being breaking the stereotypes and showing people the added value of buying a socially impactful product. As a result of purchasing the product, you are helping to make someone’s life better and creating awareness about sustainability.
Maria is excited to be participating in the WEAmericas Accelerator program as it has allowed her to get a better vision for the future of her business. In addition, she has developed more appropriate strategies with the help of the program to help her reach the maximum potential of the company.
Empowering Future Female Entrepreneurs
We asked Maria for advice that she has for future entrepreneurs. She advised (rough translation): “Fight for your dreams, never give up, and be persistent in the face of adversity. When you face adversity or problems, they present opportunities to learn and improve. These obstacles can become an ingredient for future success.”
Through her work, she hopes to empower and inspire women entrepreneurs to persevere in pursuit of their dreams and to follow their deepest passions. Maria believes that with determination, anything can be achieved.