The Confessions series is designed to introduce a successful woman. Regardless of her age, race, religion, class, ethnicity, or wealth; just a successful woman with her own definition of success. From a young entrepreneur to a mature woman with a blissful career, all of them are role models.
After working in International Marketing for over a decade, Maria Frallicciardi, with a degree in Design and Art History, decided that it was time for a change and gave entrepreneurship a chance.
Being a super mom herself she noticed, from personal experience, that it was difficult to find stylish and age appropriate children clothing and well-made leather shoes that emphasized in good quality, comfort and durability.
With this in mind, in 2004 Elephantito was born (with business partner Alexandra Penso). Her goal and vision was to be a preferred destination for customers seeking top quality clothing for their children; and that’s exactly what Elephantito offers.
With a complete line of clothing and shoes for babies and children up to 12 years old, the power mom duo has their hands in everything these days. Their success is possible thanks to a vertical integration business model. They’re involved in each and every step of the process, from designing, manufacturing, sourcing, and managing distributions entirely by themselves.
Elephantito has over 150 wholesale accounts and holds major footwear retail accounts with Zappos, Garnet Hill, Diapers and Bloomingdales.
What early life events have influenced your view of wealth?
I started designing my own clothes at age 12 and selling hand painted T-shirts and hand knitted sweaters to my friends at 13. By 15 I had launched a line of bathing suits with a friend of mine and sold it to local boutiques.
I still remember the feeling of having my own money. I believe this was my first step as an entrepreneur and since then, I never looked back.
I always associate wealth with empowerment, independence and freedom.
What role does work play in your life?
My work is an expression of who I am. I am a working woman, a working mom, a working wife and friend. My work is my identity, and plays a big role in my life.
If you could solve any problem, what would it be?
I am a true believer in “equal opportunities” for everybody regardless of gender, age and social or ethnic background. Unfortunately, I did not figure out how to solve this problem yet, but in the meantime, at Elephantito, we are proud to provide jobs to over 40 employees in Peru who now work in safe premises, earn a fair salary and enjoy for the very first time the benefits of having social security, medical insurance -for them and their family-, paid vacations and 3 months of maternity leave.
We also encourage our employees to become small entrepreneurs and be our vendors or service providers.
What have been non-financial influences on your efforts to build wealth?
Martin and Victoria, my kids. I found my real and deepest purpose in life in motherhood and they influence everything I do and everything I work for. Build wealth though hard work doing what I love while helping others is a legacy to my children.
What do you most enjoy in terms of spending?
I like to spend in experiences rather than in things. Traveling with family and friends comes always on top of my “wish list”.
What can money not buy?
Success. I think that real success has nothing to do with money but with love, pride, happiness, sense of achievement,…
What defines someone else as wealthy?
A person that has more wealth than what he/she needs to life a good life.
My wealth makes me feel….
What part has your gender played in the development of your wealth?
Being a woman helped me balance my personal and family life with my career. In order to achieve this balance, I became a “master in multitasking” which helped me keep overhead or “operating expenses” very low while starting our business.
What does wealth give you the freedom to do?
To work on what I love and to manage our companies the way my partner and I want without compromising our values and life goals.