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Thursday, August 18, 2022

It all starts small

Katherine Stanley Obando
Katherine Stanley Obando
Katherine (Co-Fundadora y Editora) es periodista, editora y autora con 16 años de vivir en Costa Rica. Es también la co-fundadora de JumpStart Costa Rica y Costa Rica Corps, y autora de "Love in Translation." Katherine (Co-Founder and Editor) is a journalist, editor and author living in Costa Rica for the past 16 years. She is also the co-founder of JumpStart Costa Rica and Costa Rica Corps, and author of "Love in Translation."

Here in the new year’s infancy, in these first tiny days, we worry over remnants of years past. We hope for better in the days to come. We feel, beneath the fairy lights we don’t want to take down, a certain disquiet: if we are well, we know not all are well. We sense, without seeing, the steep slopes up ahead.

It is a good time to remember that it all starts small. It is a good time to remember that disquiet, though uncomfortable, is the source of all good things.

From noticing, disquiet, concern, a couple found the motivation for a small business that would become a legacy. They’d seen that people who clean all day got sick from the chemicals they had to wield. 

They could have wished someone else would do better—that someone else would figure out how to make cleaning products that protect the people and the environment. Instead, they said: why not us? Three small words, two pairs of hands, and the result now sits in the cleaning aisle of every store.

The world’s problems got bigger. Its needs, more dire. It became ever clearer that businesses must change their priorities, the way they work together. 

They could have wished someone else would do better, they said: why not us? They helped a new movement grow. 

In a world where even small things have become uncertain, take heart: small is also where good things begin. This tiny new year will watch them grow. If the detergent in your cupboard can hold hidden inspiration—if the soap on your countertop can tell a hopeful story—then what else might be possible? 

Inspired by Silvia Chaves Quesada and Carlos Araya Arias, the couple that founded the Costa Rican company Florex in 2003. Carlos had created a project to generate employment for low-income families through cleaning services, but learned that traditional cleaning products were causing allergies and other illnesses in workers. He and his wife Silvia, an environmental lawyer, decided to start their own small business to create cleaning products that would be friendly to humans and the environment. Today, Florex is a mainstay in Costa Rica, and is one of the country’s first Certified B Corporations.

Our weekly Media Naranja column tells short love stories with a Costa Rican twist. During our January edition, we’re focusing on entrepreneurs who are making a difference. Stay tuned this Friday for our first report of the year: a look at the various certifications available for rural tourism businesses, and the impact they have.

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