Marcela Arrieta is the founder of Majestic Bliss Soaps an all-natural soap company that she started out of her garage in 2014. Within eight months of beginning her company you could already find it in Whole Foods! And although it may sound like an overnight success story, Arrieta’s story has been a rollercoaster. Early on it seemed that the odds were stacked against her: she was undocumented, a high school dropout, and a mom by the age of 17. Yet even as a kid Arrieta felt that she was meant for something bigger than herself. “Since I was young I had this thirst to contribute to the world but I just didn’t know where to start,” she revealed. It was that thirst and that desire to find her place that pushed her through the difficult times including a lifelong battle with depression.
In her early teens Arietta attempted suicide twice. Unfortunately this is not an unusual story, suicide is the leading cause of death for Latinos age 15 to 24 and according to the CDC “in 2015, 15.1% of Latina adolescents in the US tried to take their own lives one or more times.” In fact, Latinas have the highest suicide rates in the nation, but you still rarely see media coverage on that issue. There is an overwhelming belief that mental health issues like depression is a “white people problem” and overall “depression tends to be perceived as temporary tiredness or stress rather than as a medical condition.” Suicide and mental health issues are rarely talked about or acknowledged in the Latino community and warning signs are often recognized too late.
Arrieta was able to pull herself up and break through her depression for the sake of her son. A feat that not many people can achieve especially since untreated depression can become completely debilitating. She also sought professional help later in life to help when the ups and downs became too much. “It’s okay to feel, the question is how am I going to let that affect me and how am I going to let it go and move forward?” From there she was an on-again, off-again entrepreneur. “I was a stay at home mom with my first son and I decided to start little businesses on the side and I did pretty much everything you can think of. I saw dollar signs on everything,” she explained. “What I really lacked was the discipline. I’m the type of person who would jump off a bridge and figure out how to fly on the way down – and that’s if I didn’t hit the floor first! And that didn’t really work out for me.”
But the most notable marker of successful people is their ability to get back up and try again – and Arrieta had that resilience. “You have to have a plan and that’s something I learned along the way after starting several businesses that would fail within six months. I had to learn big time!” Despite several failed attempts Arrieta kept pushing forward, eventually discovering her passion for pranic healing and decided to make a business of clearing stagnant energy and aligning chakras. “My clients were feeling so good and they kept asking me if there was something they could use at home to continue the feeling. So I started to think about what I could offer them.” She landed on all-natural soaps that contain therapeutic oils and Majestic Bliss Soaps was born.
“I started out with a GoFundMe and I raised like $1,000 and that was all I started out with.” She hustled hard, calling stores and shops that she thought would align with her mission and eventually landed in front of the people at Whole Foods. “I kept imagining myself at Whole Foods and eventually I just called the Long Beach store and I was like ‘Hey, I have a product I would love to show you guys.’ They were like ‘that’s not the way we do things BUT come on in and we’ll give you some tips.’” She went in and gave the presentation of a lifetime – what she describes as “an out of body experience” and from that moment her business took off.
Today she’s come a long way from her garage! She’s expanded her reach to stores like Lazy Acres and Mother’s Market. She’ll also be hosting and producing her own TV segment every Tuesday on Univision 14 Despierta Aria de la Bahia to talk all things health and wellness. Majestic Bliss Soaps also does a lot of philanthropy donating products, profit, and time to organizations like Alleviate Skid Row, The American Cancer Society, Hope for Paws, and Love for Humanity.
When I asked what advice Arietta had for other budding entrepreneurs she had four main points:
1. Learn to run a business from a financial standpoint.
2. Don’t over promise and get in over your head.
3. Figure out your niche.
4. Never be ashamed to ask for help.
Then she shared with me something her grandma used to tell her: “Mija, if life was a bed of roses what fun would it be?”
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255. They are available 24/7.