Even during a pandemic, Belize is no stranger to small businesses. And like the rest of the world, more Belizeans than ever have put their creativity to good use by either opening new businesses or adapting their existing ones to an unprecedented era. Either way, a slew of these ventures are being led by women. While that’s a commendable achievement all around, there’s still a long way to go before we fully break the bias. For this year’s Women’s History Month, we’ve compiled a list of women-led businesses in Belize to support all throughout the year.
Late last year, the fashion industry in Belize rose a league above when the Sartstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management (SATIIM) introduced the Xe’il clothing line. The luxury clothing line puts Maya women at the forefront and uses their special Xokb’il Chuy embroidery. The counted stitches “turn geometry into art.” The sewing uses a complex counting system, which makes you appreciate donning the opulent fabric even more. The clothing line is available to both men and women and adopts the traditional wear of the Mopan Maya.
Ale’s Beach Treasures.
This jewelry store is unlike those you are used to seeing at the mall. For starters, it is located inside the San Ignacio Farmer’s Market, a microcosm of the Belizean culture. Ale’s Beach Treasures also specializes in sea glass jewelry and arts, making it stand out from other jewelry stores. It was founded and is run by Ale, whose talent is incomparable when it comes to crafting the best sea glass jewelry she sourced herself from the beaches of Belize. Ale even offers virtual shopping where you can arrange a virtual tour of the store so you can shop from the comforts of your home.
Mecha’s is a beverage company headquartered in the tacos-loving Orange Walk Town. Rivaling the globally popular Bailey’s Irish Cream, Mecha’s is a locally sourced Irish Cream available at many stores throughout the country. What makes Mecha’s such a versatile product is that it can be enjoyed in more ways than one. Customers can create various drink recipes, from Rumtinis, coladas, and even pastries. Named after its founder, Mecha’s is one of the companies that truly thrived within the past two years due to social media and a killer Irish cream recipe.
Maria’s Bakeshop & Coffeehouse.
This cafe has quickly become the go-to spot in Orange Walk Town since officially opening last year. Founded by an award-winning pastry chef, Maria’s Bakeshop & Coffeehouse offers more than just coffee. Its modern and cozy interior makes it ideal to enjoy the various decadent pastries they have available. You can order every drink imaginable, or combine flavors and toppings to your liking. We recommend the horchata-coffee float for a sweet pick-me-up in the afternoons. For something more refreshing, try a hibiscus or dragonfruit drink. Make sure to check out their seasonal drinks as well, for Maria’s never misses a chance to celebrate holidays.
Doni & Dodits.
Whereas everyone remembers their first bite into a Krispy Kreme, folks won’t forget the first time they try a Doni & Dodits donut. Except, it just might be a tad better. That’s a bold statement, which is why we suggest you try it for yourself and taste the heavenly filling within. The donut shop is led by an award-winning pastry chef to round out our list of women led businesses, and you can see the talent in the smorgasbord of Belize inspired flavors available. Their motto is “Joy in a Box,” evident in flavors like Oreo, cheesecake, lemon pie, carrot cake, and more. And while Doni & Dodits are located in the Corozal District, they ship countrywide. Each batch is made from scratch daily, ensuring they remain fresh for lucky customers too.