Female Founders: Lorena Marron of Palapa On The Five Things You Need To Thrive and Succeed as a Woman Founder

An Interview With Candice Georgiadis

Candice Georgiadis
Authority Magazine
Published in
6 min readAug 23, 2021


Women should have the government’s support to allow them to lead in the workplace. This means: more conscious maternity leaves, flexible working hours, government support for childcare and meals. Being a female leader shouldn’t mean sacrificing motherhood or your role as a mother. We should be able to govern our passions while protecting our mothering and self space as well.

As a part of our series about “Why We Need More Women Founders”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Lorena Marron.

Lorena Marron is the founder and CEO of Palapa: a binational company that makes high-quality huaraches, the Mexican traditional sandal. Born and raised in Acapulco, Mexico and after living in Mexico City, New York and California, Lorena brings her diverse experience, creativity, and passion to lead as an entrepreneur.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

Prior to founding Palapa, I pursued a career in Art History and worked as an art editor, covering the arts in magazines and newspapers across Mexico, Spain and the United States. I also worked as a photographer, and danced my entire life. When I was pregnant with my first child in 2016, I became more conscious about my lifestyle choices and began asking myself: What was the story behind the things I bought? Where are things made and what are they made of? I was uninspired by the lack of sustainable options on the market in regards to footwear. Aren’t shoes what connect us to the ground? Aren’t they, therefore, the most important pieces in our closet?

I began digging into the history behind huaraches, a traditional Mexican leather sandal and one of the country’s oldest crafts. It was then that I began to go deep into our huarache’s history. The variety of designs was mind blowing. I started daydreaming about building my own line of huaraches; one that values this grounding footwear that is heirloom-designed, but with added next-level comfort, made for everyday function of the modern woman. PALAPA was launched in 2021 embracing several ethos: sustainability, feminism and a slow-paced, mindful living.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

The most interesting part of this journey is definitely getting to know all the tradition that is behind the construction of each pair of huaraches, a tradition that is preserved and renewed by the people that have been making huaraches for centuries, passing their knowledge from one generation to the next.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I suffer for every mistake that I make, and work hard to fix it. I don’t even find a typo funny! This is something that I need to work on.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My family, undoubtedly. I started the company when my youngest daughter was only 10 months old. Definitely not the “perfect timing” to start anything, let alone a company. We are into attachment parenting so wherever we go, our babies go. Without the support of my husband and my parents it would have been pretty difficult to be here.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. According to this EY report, only about 20 percent of funded companies have women founders. This reflects great historical progress, but it also shows that more work still has to be done to empower women to create companies. In your opinion and experience what is currently holding back women from founding companies?

Of course what is holding back women from founding companies is not women themselves or a lack of desire. The problem is, of course, the persistent patriarchy and the lack of an infrastructure that allows many women to function as mothers as well as businesswomen.

Can you help articulate a few things that can be done as individuals, as a society, or by the government, to help overcome those obstacles?

I am very optimistic about the fact that these are better times to be a female entrepreneur in the US. We have to be careful when we have the privilege to lead, as to not make the same mistakes our fellow male entrepreneurs have made over and over. That is: to take the position of power as a passport holder to become an aggressor. There are different ways to lead. And I just wish that we females can lead in a more nourishing and safer way for our employees.

This might be intuitive to you as a woman founder but I think it will be helpful to spell this out. Can you share a few reasons why more women should become founders?

Women should have the government’s support to allow them to lead in the workplace. This means: more conscious maternity leaves, flexible working hours, government support for childcare and meals. Being a female leader shouldn’t mean sacrificing motherhood or your role as a mother. We should be able to govern our passions while protecting our mothering and self space as well.

What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about being a founder? Can you explain what you mean?

The myth that working 24/7 will make your company successful. You will burn out. You should take one step at a time and pace yourself.

Is everyone cut out to be a founder? In your opinion, which specific traits increase the likelihood that a person will be a successful founder and what type of person should perhaps seek a “regular job” as an employee? Can you explain what you mean?

I honestly don’t know how to answer this question. I don’t think being a founder is better than having a “regular job,” or that different skills or personality traits are as important. The most important factors that come into play when creating a company are socio-economic, geographic and gender related. Personality, desire and skills are secondary.

Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your opinion and experience, what are the “Five Things You Need To Thrive and Succeed as a Woman Founder?” (Please share a story or example for each.)

  1. Diverse experience: learn everything you can, all of that diverse knowledge will be of use.
  2. A diverse team: build a team composed of people that have different skills than you.
  3. Adaptability: adapt your path along the way, be flexible, ask for help.
  4. Vision: internalize your vision for moments of doubt.
  5. Love of life: Well, you might as well make it fun.

How have you used your success to make the world a better place?

We want to shed light on an entire culture. By authentically sourcing our shoes and utilizing the resources native to that of the huaraches, we are embodying the values that I was raised on growing up in a Mexican household. We support locals and provide work to our neighbors, while making women across the world feel more comfortable and in turn, more grounded, as they go about their day. By staying true to the process and our mission to produce sustainable sandals, although not always the easier option, we are doing our part to help the planet.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

Definitely a movement that compensates women for housework. We see how burnt out we are with the COVID pandemic. It is still absurd that housework is still outside of the market economy and that it is still women that are doing more than men on the domestic front. This is the biggest joke capitalism has managed to perpetrate. One day, our daughters and granddaughters will argue: why didn’t you protest in the streets every day until you ended that form of slavery that was disguised as being part of your responsability just for being a woman?

We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

I would love to cook breakfast for Venus Williams, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Judith Butler.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.



Candice Georgiadis
Authority Magazine

Candice Georgiadis is an active mother of three as well as a designer, founder, social media expert, and philanthropist.