Fashion Rule Breakers

How A 6-Year-Old And Her Mom Are Fighting Against Human Trafficking With Handbags

"Remember that together, we shine."

Fashion Rule Breakers is an original A Plus Lifestyle series: Each month, we profile a fashion designer, model, organization, or icon who is a fashion rule breaker — someone who acts outside mainstream industry standards to make a positive difference.

People tell us it's never too late to follow your dreams, but one little girl is proving it's never too early to start. On a summer day in New York City, we met that little girl named Paulina Anchia, who was just 6 years old when she created a handbag company called Beamina with her mother, Beatriz Martinez. 

The company produces quality handbags with a percentage of all proceeds going to the Ricky Martin Foundation and its fight against human trafficking

Talking to Paulina, who is now 10 years old, and her mother, we quickly noticed their passion, energy, and genuine desire to do good. "When you open Beamina, you will let happiness come out into the world," Paulina says. 

By creating a collection that promotes a positive message and cause, and inspires other young designers to follow their dreams, Paulina and Beatriz are being fashion rule breakers.

Paulina Anchia Beamina handbags
Photo courtesy of Beatriz Martinez

Paulina and her mother hope their handbags not only help raise funds to fight against human trafficking, but that they help raise awareness and educate the public about this issue, too. 

According to UNICEF and the Inter-Agency Coordination Group against Trafficking (ICAT), approximately one-third of identified human trafficking victims worldwide are children. But the organizations estimate that this number is even higher, considering that children are often afraid to come forward "for fear of their traffickers, lack of information about their options, mistrust of authorities, fear of stigma or the likelihood of being returned without any safeguards and limited material support."

"Our strategy is threefold: we research human trafficking in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean to educate and sensitize the public with the hopes of preventing more people from falling victim to this crime," it says on the Ricky Martin Foundation's website

Paulina Anchia and Beatriz Martinez of Beamina handbags
Photo courtesy of Beatriz Martinez

In terms of the collection, the handbags include the "Success Bag," a sleek bag with removable straps that can be held in multiple ways, and the "Fearless Bag," a hands-free item in an assortment of colors. On the inside of every bag, is a colorful hand-drawn design by Paulina. 

"Each drawing illustrates love, joy, and the mutual pact amongst each other — no matter our age and background — to pursue our inner happiness, push for our desires, and true passion," it says on Beamina's website. "We can live as one, we can share this world because together we can be much stronger and make a brighter future. Remember that together, we shine."

There are also two stars on the front of each bag: "The stars represent that you always have someone there to protect you or watch over you," Paulina explains.

Finally, at the crux of Beamina is the message hidden in its name: an "amina" means someone "protected by anything that causes fear," Beatrix tells us. "So you want to become an 'amina,' you want to become a warrior in life."

We hope Beatrix and Paulina's  message encourages others in the fashion industry to use their voices and platforms to do good in their communities, too. 

You can check out all of the Beamina bags here and follow along on Instagram, here.

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