Alida Boer is the founder and CEO of MARIAS, a high-end luxury accessories brand. Marias combines her passion for fashion and design with desire to preserve traditional Guatemalan textiles. Moreover, Alida and Marias seek to empower women and make a difference in the world.
In 2007, Alida won Miss Guatemala and competed in Miss Universe and Miss World. She traveled globally representing her country and developed her entrepreneurial, philanthropic, and creative instincts during this time. Alida began helping people in her homeland as a board member for Foundation Cambiando Vidas - a Montessori school that provides education and proper nutrition to 240 underprivileged children.
In 2011, Alida created a business model with Marias that empowers Guatemalan women from every social class. She started Marias with a small group of women from a remote town called Pastores in Sacatepequez, Guatemala. Female equality in the workplace is an issue in Guatemala, and in remote areas, women have a harder time providing for their families. With Marias, Alida created over 500 jobs for women in Guatemala across different regions. These women are able to make a wage by weaving at home while looking after their families. Marias encourages and participates in fair trade weaving.
Over the years, Marias expanded its business to design different kinds of accessories, from handbags to scarves. Marias has launched worldwide and has distributors and retail stores in Guatemala, London, New York, South Africa, Australia, Chile, Mexico, Guatemala and Costa Rica. In 2016, Alida founded Ix Chebel, a handbag manufacturing facility in Guatemala that produces Marias and other accessories brands.
Alida’s unique approach to business has awarded her with numerous accolades. She was named in Women of the Year in 2013 by Look Magazine as well as selected entrepreneur by the Universidad Franciso Marroquin and the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor in 2013. Additionally, Alida was nominated General Manager of the year for the Managers Association of Guatemala in 2015.
Alida is deeply passionate about curating couture artisanal weaving techniques and promoting the Guatemalan textile industry on a worldwide scale. She is constantly giving back to her country by supporting the local women and their families with education and fair payment.