Rebeca Mojica, founder and owner of Blue Buddha Boutique in Chicago, is a force of nature, not only within her company but in the chainmaille and craft world. While most artists struggle in the craft business, she has flourished.
Chainmaille is a niche craft that was losing popularity until Ms. Mojica revived it within a young, hip demographic. She published a book on the topic, thereby introducing it to tens of thousands of people. At her retail store, she teaches the chainmaille process to eager students.
Ms. Mojica’s unique chainmaille designs and her passion for teaching others is what sets her apart. She encourages her 18 employees to engage in lifelong learning and to that end, holds Weaving Wednesdays, a two-hour block of time when all employees are paid to learn new jewelry weaves. Employee art is celebrated, featured and sold at the store. Employees also have the opportunity to learn the financials of the business. Using the ‘Great Game of Business’ model, team members are responsible for tracking and reporting a specific metric on a weekly basis.
Ms. Mojica’s commitment to employee growth and development is further demonstrated in her leadership style. Each person who has been promoted to a management position worked his or her way up and were rewarded for their efforts regardless of their education or age. Her creativity, drive and self-discipline have turned a personal fascination with chainmaille jewelry from a hobby into a thriving global enterprise with $1 million in annual revenues, a robust e-commerce site and the largest dedicated chainmaille retail supply store in the world. The rapidly growing business now serves artists and enthusiasts in all 50 states and 40 countries.
In short, Ms. Mojica has become a source of constant inspiration for her customers, employees and all those who meet her.