Meet Estela Aguilar: Mother and Entrepreneur


October 2014

Estela is a talented jeweler and astute entrepreneur. She designs and crafts intricate jewelry for quinceañeras, weddings, and other special events, and her lucrative small business supports her and her two children. However, Estela’s success did not come easy. Opening Doors provided Estela with the foundation knowledge she needed to start a small business, an accomplishment that helped her to leave her abusive husband.

Estella with her Jewelry

Estela Aguilar and her husband came to this country to provide a better future for their family. Initially, Estela was a stay-at-home mom while her husband worked to support the family. However, she was fearful and unhappy; her husband was mentally abusive and Estela was dependent on him for financial support.


With years of experience making jewelry in Mexico, Estela hoped to start a jewelry business to earn a living. But where did she begin? She was completely unfamiliar with the financial system in the United States and unsure where to go to start learning the basics. It was at an Univision event that she learned about Opening Doors.


Estela’s first step towards independence was enrolling in MoneyWork$, where she learned how to better manage the household finances. After establishing reasonable financial goals and creating a monthly budget, she was able to identify spending leaks and save money. She also networked with her classmates to establish a customer base for her jewelry. Finally, with one-thousand dollars in savings, Estela took her children and left her husband.

Jewelry Display


Knowing she needed to establish a more consistent clientele, Estela began renting a space in Arteagas Market to sell her hand-made jewelry and party favors. However, her next major goal is to open a store of her own, and this ambition led her to join our Business Development Academy. The Academy classes trained her on the specifics of owning a small business, including taxes, acquiring insurance, and how to strengthen her advertising. She also joined the Small Business Committee where she now collaborates with other small business owners.


Thanks to help from Opening Doors, Estela turned her work into a flourishing small business. Estela is very grateful for the encouragement and resources Opening Doors gave her along her journey to financial independence, and looks forward to the day when she can open her own store.



Read other articles from October 2014:

Refugee arrivals have nearly tripled, and we need your help!

5 Things You Didn't Know About Immigration