Madeleine Furuvald, creator of YU Handcraft, is an entrepreneur aiming to create job opportunities for the women and families of the Wayuu tribe in La Guajira, Colombia. In this interview, Madeleine explains how her business got started and how she grabbed a wild opportunity to give back to the world one bag at a time.

Four Questions with Madeleine Furuvald

1. How did the idea for the business model come about?

The nice thing about this project is that it all got shaped perfectly without actually planning it. I first noticed the bags up by the Caribbean coast and though there were really nice. After buying one myself, I thought it would be nice to show the bags to friends and family back in Sweden.

It was pretty clear that people back home also loved the bags, therefore I thought of exporting them to other countries.

After this, everything started to build up, I made a deeper research on the bags; where exactly they were handcrafted, by whom, and if it was possible to buy some. After finding out that the bags were handmade by women of the Wayuu tribe, I thought of the idea of being able to give them something in return.

In many cases, the only income some families of the Wayuu tribe have comes from the handcrafts they make. So by working together with the tribe; for them to make the bags and I export them abroad, can create a positive impact for all parts. Also, not to mention the fact that sharing their heritage and culture is a big positive deal for them!

2. How did you decide to join this sector?

I never thought about becoming a social entrepreneur, but I got a free ticket to give back to others and I took it! The more involved I get into the project, the more meaning it has. I think it’s lovely to be able to make a business with something that would have a positive impact on others as well. Nothing feels better than helping others with your work.

3. How do you get your inspiration?

I have always been a people-person and get easily attached to stories and destinies of people. From those feelings, that’s how the inspiration occurs.

4. How do you reset yourself to be creative? Do you have any rituals?

I do not consider myself a very creative person when compared to others friends that are designers and artists. On the other hand, I have learnt that creativity is conceived in each one of us when we use our hearts in our daily work.