Thursday, August 16, 2012

Graduate Spotlight: Maricela Yee's Little Shop Artisan Box

By Amia Grashin, Summer Fellow

Maricela with her Gourmet Foodie Boxes

In 2011 Maricela Yee moved to the Bay Area from Hawaii. She always knew that she wanted to help individuals and better the community, but could not figure out what platform would work best for her. Prior to arriving in California she spent time working as a social worker and sold flowers on the streets of Honolulu, but these jobs did not truly fulfill her desire to be a part of a collective and artistic avenue of change. 

Leftovers and an attempt to preserve items from farmers markets sparked the initial idea for Little Shop Artisan Box. The spirit of Oakland inspired an idea in Maricela, and Women’s Initiative provided her the tools to turn that idea into a business.

Maricela creates Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)-style boxes of local, gourmet, artisan foods. She experienced the food of Bay Area artisans and wanted to help to share their talents with the community. Little Shop Artisan Box delivers hand picked, themed boxes to subscribers every month. The goal is to tell the stories of the artisans through their food. On the website customers can find stories about where the culinary creations come from. This business is the perfect mix of promoting local artisans, collaborating with people, and enjoying amazing food.  

Through this experience Maricela has discovered that she loves to empower people and now works to help her vendors grow in a sustainable, positive way. She has developed a business that celebrates each artisan and their craft, while staying local. Maricela is passionate about featuring other budding entrepreneurs, which grows their businesses along with her own. She brings the artisans on board in creating cohesive themes for the boxes. This creative collaboration is something that Maricela loves, and it is something that can be felt and tasted by the customers. 

Foodie Boxes: April Inspired by Spring Flowers; January Spice is Nice; February; Mothers' Day
She currently works with almost 40 local vendors and provides boxes to over 100 clients every month. Her business has grown so much in its first year that she has had to hire an intern to help her to expand effectively.

Maricela is always looking for way to reach new artisans and help them to build their businesses. She has found that Women’s Initiative can be a great tool in fostering their success. When speaking with Maricela about the success of her business she cant help but come back to the vital role that Women’s Initiative has played in providing her with important knowledge about becoming a successful business owner and providing her continued support as her business grows.

We at Women’s Initiative are extremely proud to have Maricela as part of our family and we look forward to her ongoing success.


Anonymous said...

thanks for posting..

Anonymous said...