International Entrepreneur: Daniela

Updated: Jan 29, 2019

Camila Luna

Shine bright

Money is not her main motivation. Her primary drive is reaching her goals, helping others to feel empowered, and creating an uplifting and elevated quality of life... through lighting. She is in the business of illumination.

I’d like to introduce you to Daniela.

I left this interview feeling refreshed, and ready to take on the world. I felt so excited that there are still young entrepreneurial women- Latina women like her who take charge, are empowered, and are strong enough to be the authors of their lives.

I was initially intrigued by Daniela because she is Colombian and traveled all the way to Shanghai to work on her illumination business when to most people around the world, and to most Colombians, the thought of moving to China seems completely alien. We met at a coffee shop overlooking one of the busiest and brightest intersections of Shanghai- a corner full of shopping malls.

Daniela’s illumination business, named Daniela Suarique Design focuses on the design and art behind lighting. Even while we were talking in the café, she was analyzing the lighting around us, commenting on the harshness or softness of it, and how it impacts the mood of the space.

She is an artist of light, and is currently even enrolled in an architecture course in with The Interior Design Institute (California) to learn more about spacing and design.

But still, why did she choose Shanghai of all places instead of say, Singapore, or Athens or any other large, international city? She explains that China is still the manufacturing capital of the world, where materials and items can be created and shipped for less. She often tours factories with her English-Chinese translator to determine the best places to bring her ideas to life. She then ships her goods back to Colombia, and eventually, she hopes, around the world.

However, as many international entrepreneurs know, the business path is not always easy. In addition to working towards her own dream, she has also taken on various jobs to maintain her lifestyle. Daniela has also worked as a salsa dancer for the Colombian consulate in Shanghai, she has worked as an English and Spanish teacher, and she has picked up odd jobs here and there to help pay the bills.

Nevertheless, her business and daily work do not take away from what matters most to Daniela- she is dedicated to healthy living and fitness, travels often, and even started "Rotaract Armero Ibagué", the Ibagué-based branch of Rotary International. Her goal with this organization is to improve the quality of life of children and marginalized communities in her hometown.

Based on how she chooses to spend her precious time, Daniela’s solid character is clear to me. However, my last question to Daniela we the most telling. I asked her, “which of the following would you rather have: $1 million USD in cash, 3 years as the companion of the richest person in the world, or a lifetime of free traveling?”. Without skipping a beat, Daniela responded, “lifetime of free traveling”. Why? She explained that what really makes us wealthy is not money, but experiences and growth.

Now that is what I call an entrepreneur of the soul.

For more information, visit @danielasuariquedesign on Instagram!

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