Hipatia Lopez is of Ecuadorian decent, born and raised in New Jersey. She is daughter to immigrant parents who came from Ecuador to the United States in search for a better life. Her idea behind the Empanada Fork was born in her kitchen during Thanksgiving 2010.
The simple task of closing empanadas with a regular fork has been a long and tedious process. This was extremely frustrating especially when making empanadas in large quantities as she was the empanada closer. (picture below)
During Thanksgiving 2010, she was preparing 100 empanadas. As she was closing the empanadas her thumb started to hurt. Then she stopped and thought, “I wonder if there is a utensil I can use to close them?” So she started to do her research and to her surprise there was no such thing. When she told her husband he said, “GO FOR IT!” With the help of her lawyers she got it patented in December 2012. She realized she was on a journey to something big!
The empanada fork (shown above) is a stainless steel utensil with a soft- grip handle, which can also be used to close pastries and patties. Instead of using a fork several times to close an empanada, you can use the empanada fork to press down once for each empanada.
Hipatia has caught the attention of the media and bloggers in a short period of time. She recently entered a QVC.com contest and won. Now the Empanada Fork is for sale on qvc.com As if this wasn’t enough for this latina, she is now competing against other inventors to get on the shelf at Walmart. Walmart contest ends on September 2 and you can vote daily here: https://getontheshelf.walmart.com/product/176f/Empanada-Fork
Hipatia always new in her heart that she wanted to have her own business. She says, “What people need to understand is that I did everything on my own. Nobody works for me. I don’t have employees. I made the calls to manufacturing companies asking if they do molds for prototype, which I had to learn the terminology among other things. I did get many phone calls that said NO and made me feel like I was crazy. But I just kept asking the questions until I got a company that loved the idea and that was willing to hear me out and help me. In life there are many obstacles. I got discouraged and had to pick myself up and say tommorrow is another day.
I believe in myself. I strongly believe once you lose your fear, the confidence in yourself just comes out and makes you want to succeed. I encourage latinas to start their own business, nobody says it’s easy but with hard work and determination anything is possible. My mom used to say that to me growing up and now I get it!
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