The month of March is Women’s History Month
And we are HERE for it! Did you know that Mikoleon was founded by a woman? Cony Larsen was born in Guatemala, so she has a rich history and love for her community there. Several years ago, she went back to visit and realized that there were so many artisans and cobblers that were struggling to get by because they didn’t have consistent work opportunities. They had incredible shoemaking and design skills, but no one to hire them! Cony, with the help of her family and team, decided to start selling shoes so these artisans could get consistently paid to work a stable job with benefits. What started as a way to give back to artisans bloomed into the brand that Mikoleon is today.
The importance of prioritizing the care and treatment of artisans is very close to the brand’s heart, and that’s why everything we do is to ultimately give back to the artisans. They are the stars of this show and we can’t wait for you to learn more about them!
In the spirit of Women’s History Month, we will be highlighting a different woman artisan every week by sharing their story and showcasing their work! We are so grateful for all of our artisans and cobblers in Guatemala that we get to work with, women and men. However, we think it’s important to give a platform to the women in our company who have overcome so much and use their creative talents to support their families and communities.
As the owner and creative director of Mikoleon
Cony is the ultimate #girlboss. Not only is she a successful business owner seven days a week, she makes ample time for her family and her 23 adorable grandchildren. However, it wasn’t always like this, as a woman, she was faced with a lot of unique struggles when she was trying to start a business. She says “I love to cheer for women in business. Many times during my business career, I was clearly dismissed by a men dominated industry as one of the owners of whatever company we owned; most people wanted to talk to my husband.”
“I recall a time living in San Diego while starting a new business and seeing a billboard that a bank was inviting women owned businesses to come and apply for loans. So, I decided I was going to go to my local branch and apply for a loan, when the loan officer finally talked to me, and after I told him my business plan (thinking for sure I would get a loan because I owned a business, I was a woman AND a latina!), he looked me straight in the eye and said "where is your husband?", I was so naive I was confused and didn't understand why he was asking for my husband LOL!” Cony had to overcome hurtful doubts and prejudices others had about her, pertaining to things that were out of her control, like her gender and heritage!
It’s obvious that there was an unfortunate prejudice that many of the banks and other businesses that Cony had to associate with had against her because of her gender. But not only the negative way that these men communicated with her, there was a legal factor that played into it as well.
Not even 30 years ago, women had to have the signature of a male relative in order to qualify for a business loan in most areas of the United States. Thankfully, the Women’s Business Ownership Act of 1988, commonly known as HR 5050, was passed. Thus giving women the ability to be singularly in charge of their business and finances.
According to NAWBO, more than 9.1 million businesses in the U.S. are owned by women, with 2.9 million being owned by women of color. One in five million-dollar businesses are woman-owned. It’s crazy to think that without this law, there would have been so many more limitations in a woman starting her own business. Not only the equality aspect, but the national economy would have suffered without the hardworking women that own businesses today. Equality truly does benefit everyone!
Cony is an example that hard work absolutely pays off and that you should never let your backstory and especially your gender, stop you from pursuing your dreams and aspirations. Cony shares “Remember, you are never too old to start a business if it's your dream.”
Kicking off the first week of March, we are dropping our new and improved womens sandals in the styles Market and Rio! We all know last year was a year of being cooped up with limited opportunities to experience the life we were used to. This year, we are creating our own adventure and encourage you to take charge of what you’re in control of. Make the most out of the things that you can change and the positivity you can initiate in your own life. Start with wearing our womens sandals to help you go on your 2021 adventures and work on becoming the person you want to be!
What are you going to do in your Miko sandals? Watch for this shoe drop March 4th, 2021 @ 7 p.m. PST and March 5th @ 9 a.m. PST. Featuring the gorgeous full grain leather colors of Roble, Natural and White. Shop at mikoleon.com