💛 International Women’s Day 💛 Celebrating Latina Entrepreneurs

💛 International Women’s Day 💛 Celebrating Latina Entrepreneurs

International Women’s Day is all about honoring the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, most of which took place (and continue to) in the context of crippling inequalities. The business world is no exception; women today are disrupting industries in a male dominated field and making themselves a new entrepreneurial archetype.

This year at Artelexia, we want to commemorate Int’l Women’s Day by celebrating the creativity, ingenuity, and leadership of Latina women building their small businesses from scratch, and blazing the trail for other aspiring entrepreneurs while doing so. We’re proud to stock our shelves with products from local Latina owned businesses whose founders are the prime example of grit, dedication, and a love for comunidad. Today, you get to hear directly from a few of them on everything from taking the big leap, having patience with the process, opening an LLC, and surrounding yourself with a supportive network during your journey.

Starting with our very own...Elexia de la Parra!

Elexia is a creative entrepreneur, the founder & owner of Artelexia, and the visionary behind everything you see at our shop! Her love for gatherings, travel, and design inspired her to share the vibrant traditions of Mexico with the world through Artelexia. 12 years in, she's transformed what was once a stall at the Little Italy Farmer’s Market into a growing business that engages the customer beyond the product: community events, creative workshops, fundraising, and nurturing up-and-coming artists. Recently, the pandemic pushed her to take a closer look at artists in the U.S., both in and beyond California, to revamp Artelexia’s vendor list in support of small, women and Latinx-owned businesses. She sees Artelexia as a springboard for Latinas in the broader art and business communities who are celebrating their identity and culture through creative means.

“I’m proud to work with Latina-owned businesses like Two Hermanas, Hija del Maíz, Yayitzel, Loquita, Shop JZD and many more, because they, like Artelexia, are on a journey finding their space in the market, and I feel honored to be a part of that.”

Meet Jen and Vero, the masterminds behind the iconic Latina Power Tee that has been turning heads since 2016. And while their product list has since expanded to include everything from apparel to accessories, drinkware, and stationery, the common denominator is a lifestyle brand that builds community and celebrates cultura everyday. With the success of their Latina Power Tee, the duo realized that customers shared this longing for products that reminded them of just that — their POWER — but also their roots. They’re on a mission to continue empowering its customer base with designs that tell a story of resilience, strength, and owning your identity.

“We exist to empower you and remind you that your ancestors are always cheering you on!”

Here’s what Jen and Vero have to say:

1. In light of International Women's Day, can you share a little bit about any challenges you've overcome as a Latina entrepreneur?

JZD is a Latina empowerment brand that focuses on creating products that build community and celebrate our culture. With that being said, our business is what some call "a niche business." From day one, the biggest challenge has been getting people in the business world to see the power of our customers. We always get comments like, "You should be targeting everyone," or "Your business is too niche" but our business has been growing consistently and we have surrounded ourselves with a beautiful team that is as passionate and driven as us. Our community is powerful and so supportive and together we are building a brand that represents us.

2. Do you have any words of wisdom to share with aspiring business owners?

Stop waiting for the perfect moment, launch now! I feel like we tend to wait for the perfect moment to launch, drop a new collection, etc but really no moment is perfect and new challenges will present themselves no matter what stage you're at. Just go for it, you'll figure out the rest later.

Also, surround yourself with a community that is able to help you through the struggles and celebrate the wins with you. Running a business is the best thing I've ever done but it's also the hardest and having a circle of women who can support us has been a huge blessing.

3. Who, or what, do you choose to celebrate on this day?

Literally all the women in my life! Our amazing and fierce community, our passionate team members, our amazing and kind friends, my strong mami, and all the courageous and strong women.

Shop their products at Artelexia! We carry their bestselling Latina Power Tee in pink and black (and kids sizes too!), notepads for when you when it’s Tu Día or have a long list of Chingaderas Que Hacer, their motivating pixie dust pen set, this Chingona necklace and a variety of other jewelry with affirmations.

If you recently bought one of the popular Valentine’s Day greeting cards with puns like Me Lattes un Chingo, then you’ve already witnessed the creative work of graphicl designer and illustrator Itzel Islas (she/her) of Yayitzel. Itzel’s playful and vibrant designs are inspired by Mexican culture and incorporate both her very own graphics and hand-drawn motifs. What we love about her products is that they resonate with the bicultural experience at an artistic (and even a linguistic!) level and they celebrate elements of everyday Mexican life that transcends the border. Originally from Tijuana and currently living in San Diego, Itzel’s lived experience directly informs her designs, and she wants to empower folks interested in pursuing their creative career to do the same.

Here’s what she has to say:

1. In light of international women’s day, can you share a little bit about any challenges you’ve overcome as a Latina entrepreneur?

Yes! The most recent challenge that comes to mind was doing my taxes. It's my first year doing taxes as an LLC, and the process was completely different than what I was used to. Especially since I had a full-time job for over 7 years and decided to go full-time freelance a year and a half ago. Which meant I am now in charge of reporting all my income/expenses all by myself. At first I felt really overwhelmed, but thankfully I found someone that helped me with the process.

2. Do you have any words of wisdom to share with aspiring business owners?

Absolutely! First of all, I always recommend starting small. For example, if you want to have an online shop, then you can start with stickers. You can start with a single design and get 50 stickers printed. That way you can see what people respond to and then build on that.

I also like reminding people to be patient. Building anything (a business, a brand, etc.) takes a lot of time and showing up every day... Even when you don't feel like it, or you feel like no one is watching.

3. Who, or what, do you choose to celebrate on this day?

I'm lucky to be surrounded by so many amazing women, but the main ones would be my 3 sisters and my mom... They are a huge inspiration to me!

We’re definitely watching you, Itzel! At Artelexia, you can find some of our favorite Yayitzel greeting cards, stickers (Tajin is My Glitter and Takerisi have been a hit), colorful totes, and stationery.

Founder Yamira started this brand after realizing that there were no self-care or bath and body products she could relate to, nothing that spoke to her identity, and definitely nothing with carácter. “Loquita”, a more endearing version of “crazy”, is a term she uses to describe her life up until this point, and a term she has reclaimed as positive, because she was “crazy enough to follow my dream”. Her dream was a bath & body brand that incorporates Latinx culture (especially from the 90s) and the flavors and wit that define it. You can find everything from bath bombs to sugar scrubs in Loquita’s catalog, in flavors that’ll make self-care feel like a real treat: concha, mangonada, churro, horchata, and mazapan.

“Because you can't pour from an empty cup mija!”

Here are Yamira’s two cents on owning a business:

1. In light of international women’s day, can you share a little bit about any challenges you’ve overcome as a Latina entrepreneur?

One of the biggest challenges is the self doubt, especially diving into new territory such as business endeavors or creating new products. But as a trailblazer you have no other option but to put your hair up in a chongo y darle duro because if not you then who?!

2. Do you have any words of wisdom to share with aspiring business owners?

Don't be afraid to be creative! Try to offer something new that has not been offered yet, there is still such a market and need for products that have not even been thought up or invented yet!

3. Who, or what, do you choose to celebrate on this day?

I choose to celebrate all the women who came before me so that I could be here today, like my mother who was also part of a small business ownership and my grandmother who was a seamstress. I would not be the strong resilient woman I am today without them as examples!

Shop Loquita products at Artelexia: the sugar scrubs, whipped soaps, and lip scrubs in churro, mangonada, horchata, mazapan, concha, mango, and melón have been a real hit. And the lip balm set, Chingona Club bath soap, and Concha bath soap have been gift-giving favorites.

Whether you’re wanting to support these women and their growing businesses or are looking for the perfect gift in their selection of products, we highly recommend checking them out. And if you’re wanting to celebrate any women in your life this week, visit our Latina Power, jewelry, and self-care collections for gift ideas. You can always make it easy for yourself and gift a goodie bag: you tell us a little about the recipient, pick a theme — Selena, Frida, Luchador, Virgen (to name a few), or a Variety — and we curate it to perfection. All goodie bags are packaged in a cute and colorful woven mercado bag and include a handful of traditional Mexican candy. They are wrapped à la Artelexia, with vibrant tissue paper, ribbon, stickers, and a dash of confetti so that your loved one receives a party in a box for any gift-giving occasion!

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