See all episodes
Money Tales

Staving Off the Bag Lady, with Rikki Quintana


In this episode of Money Tales, our guest is Rikki Quintana. For most of her adult life, Rikki has been haunted by a vivid image of a woman in a flower sack dress, sitting under a bridge with a shopping cart. That woman is the personification of Rikki’s bag lady syndrome that she recently came to terms with. This fear stemmed from a chaotic childhood where Rikki couldn’t rely on the adults in her life to do what was needed to take care of her. With maturity and focus, Rikki came to realize that no amount of money could cure the bag lady syndrome. It was a hypothetical problem, and not a real problem she faced.

Rikki grew up in a chaotic family in which she called herself the “white sheep in a family of black sheep.” That took the form of being the rule-following perfectionist of the family with a focus on security, control, and risk avoidance. This outlook served her well as a “straight A” student and later as a lawyer, working for large prestigious law firms and their Fortune 500 clients. But eventually, after more than 30 years of practicing law, that linear focus on the standard external measures of success wasn’t enough. Instead, she felt herself called to re-engage in what always spoke to her heart- international and inter-cultural relationships and communication. (She was a language major as an undergraduate, but then took the risk-averse career path to law.)

Rikki founded HoonArts Fair Trade in a blind leap of faith in 2014. In retrospect, she’s grateful that she didn’t know what she didn’t know! Starting from “ground zero” as the first person to work on building a US market for handicrafts from Tajikistan, HoonArts is now a verified fair trade business, working with artisan groups in 3 Central Asian countries. With customers on 4 continents, HoonArts is helping to empower over 100 artisans, mostly rural women. Rikki is passionate about using her long-term partnerships with master artists to open a doorway to this amazing region. In the process, she’s had to completely redefine her relationship to money, risk, success, and failure.

See all episodes >

Keep Listening.