We had the good fortune of connecting with Paula Purpera and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Paula, how does your business contribute to your community and make a difference to others?
I am currently practicing as a Cosmetic Dermatology Physician Assistant in Miami. When the COVID quarantine came along, I realized that there was a need that for something that I offered, I started my business in the middle of the COVID quarantine. I have been making alcohol-based hand sanitizers as gifts for close friends and family for a few years and decided to work with my incredible business partner, Katie, who started Worthy Goods because she wanted natural beauty and lifestyle products that would be safe to use in pregnancy. What came out of this beautiful collaboration was a collection of lifestyle products that centered around a boutique line of alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Our tagline is, “You are Worthy”, because we believe in empowering our consumers to believe in their individuality, uniqueness, and inherent worth, that starts with self-love and self-care. Since hand hygiene is now such an integral part of the new normal, we wanted to create an experience that transcends the utilitarian and functional aspect of preventing the spread of the Coronavirus. We wanted it to be a pleasurable, mindful experience that you not only enjoy, but you want to keep coming back to. Furthermore, there are causes that we feel passionate about and believe in improving our community. We are directly involved in and partner with local charity organizations such as SAVE LGBT, The Lotus House, Miami military veterans, as well as supporting frontline and essential workers.
Please tell us more about your career. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I was born and raised in the Philippines. My family and I immigrated to New York City in my teens. I felt disconnected when I moved to the US and I wanted to be part of something larger and more meaningful, so at 20, I joined the United States Air Force and served during September 11, 2001. Serving in the military was such a great adventure for me. I met incredible people who would be forever part of my life. But it also taught me the value of resilience, sacrifice, integrity, excellence, and impeccable work ethic, values which govern my personal and professional relationships. After the military, I moved to Cleveland, OH and worked as a laboratory technologist at the Cleveland Clinic. I also started a promotions and marketing company as a hobby, which evolved into an ad agency that was sold to a publishing company in 2012. At this time, I was also finishing my undergraduate degree, and was dipping my toes into custom-building a home. I was also writing a blog about everything and anything I was interested in (music, fashion, tech, beauty). I love multi-tasking and doing a lot of different things at once because one thing can jump start inspiration in a completely different aspect of my life and it is a very exciting feeling when everything you’re doing that seems completely unrelated seem to come together. I started grad school in 2012 and graduated in 2014. I moved to Miami, FL because I was sick of the winters and wanted to see manatees and dolphins every day for the rest of my life. I am currently a Cosmetic Dermatology Physician Assistant by day and entrepreneur, a sustainability advocate and philanthropist in my free time. Sustainability is a cause that is near and dear to me. I launched an initiative in late 2018 where I stopped buying new clothes, shoes, and accessories and will only buy vintage, secondhand, upcycled or recycled items. I also have an annual clothes swap that benefits the Lotus House Shelter for women and children who are victims of domestic violence. I do think that a lot of my success is rooted in really JUST DOING things. I have an idea and I pursue it, whether it may be feasible or not. I take pleasure in creating this idea and going through the steps of seeing it through, regardless of the outcome, because more often than not, something fruitful or a better idea always comes out of this process. A lot of the time, a request from a client comes through, and you really just have to figure it out, teach yourself how to do something, or find someone who could help you. It’s about NOT SAYING NO TO YOURSELF. All of us are actually more capable than we give ourselves credit for, especially women. If more women adopt this mentality, I think we will have more female-owned businesses and more people will be working on their passion projects.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
All these make me so nostalgic about our life pre-Covid, so this will reflect what would I would do on a long weekend in Miami Friday: Early lunch at Swan, walk around the Design District, snack at Cafe Creme and chill around an old banyan tree in Upper Buena Vista. Indulge in yummy ice cream at Cream Parlor. After a nap, happy hour food and drink at Sweet Liberty, where hopefully my favorite South Florida band, The Swayzees, will be playing live, then finish the evening with a nightcap at Pao then some dancing at The Living Room at the Faena Saturday: Start with an early breakfast at Jimmy’s Eastside Diner followed by a morning paddleboard tour in VKOC where we could check out the manatees and find a secret beach. After showering and changing, drive down to the Redlands Farmers Market to shop and eat some of the most authentic tacos and Mexican food in the city. Take a detour down to Card Sound Road and have a couple of super laid back drinks at Alabama Jacks. Take a siesta and get ready for a fun karaoke night at Sweet Caroline then dancing at Twist ending with a jaunt to E11even till the wee hours of the morning. Sunday: Drag brunch at The Palace then lazy Sunday Funday at The Standard. Monday: Long spa day at the Acqualina Spa to recharge for the week ahead.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The past year was quite a tumultuous one for me. I had undergone a change in my marital status, launched a sustainable fashion initiative, writing 3 chapters for a dermatology textbook, lecturing at conferences, was in the process of creating a non-profit, while traveling all over. It was exhausting, and frankly not sustainable. The quarantine not only enabled me to create my passion project, Worthy Goods, but it made me take a step back and reevaluate what was truly important to me and how I wanted my life to unfold. The following were so instrumental for my growth and my continued success: my family in NYC, especially my twin sister, Angela Torregoza. my amazing business partner, Katharine Schroeder. my incredible friends: Albert Guerrero, Kathleen McHale, Edward Kring, Sarah Raw, Adela Guerra, Ali Dispazio, and so many more people who I am blessed to have in my life. You know who you are. . I also used these amazing resources: 1. Science of Well-Being by Dr. Laurie Santos-a class exploring the science on how to be happy and have improved relationships with the people around you. 2. Daily meditation-I like to use the Insight Timer app 3. Talk therapy with Carol Pulido 4. Landmark Personal Development Course 5. Outdoor therapy AKA paddleboarding