Lelian Dam-Rimarachin: Navigating A Career Through Shipping & Entrepreneurship at Alpaca world!
April 07, 2021
By Eunice Hammond-Mørklid
Photograhed by Lelian Dam-Rimarachin
This feature is part of our series on women of our community who inspire us. From entrepreneurs, students, and consultants starting their own businesses to executives changing the game at the highest levels, we’re lucky to be able to learn from these incredible role models.
Lelian Dam-Rimarachin saw a void in the clothing industry. There has not been much focus on Alpaca wool clothing in the Nordic market so in 2019 she lauched Alpaca World.
Lelian sat down with us to talk about the early beginnings of Alpaca World, her business advice, and interests.
Lelian Dam-Rimarachin - CEO Alpaca World AS
Tell us about yourself and On Alpaca World Clothing.
I come from Peru and I have been living in Norway since 2007. I have a bachelor degree in international trade, tourism, and secretarial studies from South America. In Norway I had taken programs in entrepreneurship and in Norwegian language. I have also been accepted in a program by VIS Innovasjon Norge- Grunderhub. Most of my professional life has been based on different kind of areas like travel agencies, secretary in law Companies, kindergarten, shipping operations and administration. I began Alpaca World project in 2019. The Alpaca World is a project with focus on sustainability and natural resources. I am mother of two kids and I am married with a Dutch man, the family is the backbone in my life. I also like to spend my free time volunteering in organisations such as Red Cross and Skjoldtun hospital.
Alpaca World is based on promoting the concept to live in balance with the nature and do something different with the natural resources and plant-based dyes.
The Alpaca products use is timeless - use more and wash less. The Alpaca wool is from Peru which is the cradle of luxury alpaca wool and other natural fibers. Through the Alpaca World project we are using natural resources and involving small communities to make clothes without microplastic and we want to create better life and go beyond to minimize waste/microplastic of all kinds and maximize social impact. https://intipakucha.no/en/
What was the process like of getting Alpaca World off the ground?
Well its been an exciting journey. It learnt how to go out of my comfort zone. There is a lot of information about entrepreneurship programs and organizations, but you must go out looking for it. I have had to speak with people, to explain the idea and to be ready to get positive feedbacks and rejections. For me, the most important of all is to believe in what you want to do and commit to do it despite all the challenges that you’ll find on the way.
Did you know what you wanted to do when you were younger? How did you begin your career as an entrepreneur ?
Yes I did. I wanted to be a police woman or a pilot.
Well, I will say I grew up with an enterpreneural spirit. My parents are both entrepreneurs so I learnt from them at a young age. I rememeber we used to, for example grow our own vegetables and sell them in my parents restaurant.
Who are some of the inspiring women and men in your life and why?
I have a lot of women that inspired me. I will say all the women that I meet every day, my Mother, Oprah, and my dearest sister who left this world. She showed me the passion to do what I love to do and to helping each other, known or unknown. She is always close to me.
Something most people especially minorities struggle with is transitioning out of a career that isn’t the best fit for them — how did you transition from Shipping to CEO?
It has been difficult. First, I had to learn the culture and about the society. After that I had to join various organisations to talk to them, engage, and show what i could also contribute. Some of the feedback has been “oh yes she can, she is amazing, she does what she says”. Engaging with people in your community is very important part of transitioning out of a career in a new area. Without engaging with others, it looks like a person isn’t worth it because she comes from another country or because she looks different than them.
Were there any critical challenges you faced?
Yes, there was. In the begginning I was learning to fit in the society, but in that process, I felt like I lost my own identity. I did found myself, but I recommend that you be yourself, have your own authenticity, but at the same time respect and understand others and their opinions.
What would you say is the 3 most important skills needed to be an Entrepreneur?
In my view these 3 skills are the most important:
-To be open and honest with yourself and others
-To accept both yes and no when you ask for help
-To commit to learn whatever is necessary to succeed and keep going
Do you have advice for young women who want to do what you're doing?
Don’t be afraid to start on your own, if you really wish or want to, you can do it. If you succeed you win, if it doesn’t work you would still have learnt so much that you will see clearer what you want to do further and what you want to be.
- I said the wrong words when I was learning norwegian:
instead of saying "Jeg er forsynt" = I am satisfed, I said "Jeg er sint" = I am angry.
- At most Norwegian parties the norm is more like listening to the music but for me is it is more like to dance when I hear the music. Once I was in Christmas party "Julebord" - Norwegian custom, the music was nice so I decided to dance with a Norwegian colleague suddenly everybody was dancing.
What’s something you’re reading that you want to tell everyone about?
Brian Tracy: Change your thinking, change your life.
I highly recommend this book for everyone that wants to start on their own. It shows what kind of person you are, the power you have and what you need to change to succeed. Remember everything takes time.
What 2 technology skills would you like to improve on?
- Online marketing strategy with social media.
- 3D fashion design and artificial intelligence.
Any recent favourite films you would like to watch? And Why?
Yes, Matrix 4 that is scheduled for this year.
I like the Matrix movies. You recognize the power of being human, despite all the technology involved.
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