People often ask me––“How did you start your business?”
Our business started because of COVID-19.
In February of 2020, I had just relaunched our travel blog and I was excited to pour more time, energy, and money into content creation.
Then the pandemic hit and many people asked me, “Are you worried about your new travel business?”
A part of me was a little worried at first, but I knew I’d find a solution.
I was also fortunate that I still had a full-time job that would allow me to keep exploring what to do without worrying about a paycheck.
Then the lockdown happened and I was furloughed. I still had some work, but I didn’t have a full week to keep me occupied and I was panicked.
That was when I decided to treat Mexico In My Pocket like my job. While all of us were dreading being stuck at home, I was enjoying working in spite of being locked in a tiny apartment during the middle of a terrifying pandemic.
At first, working on Mexico In My Pocket was just something to pass the time. But then, things got serious once I received messages via DM asking for help.
Artisans and businesses in Mexico were struggling because tourism was dead and they relied on American tourists to buy their products.
Having very little retail experience or knowledge of what it takes to sell, I offered to promote their products through our online platform.
At first, it worked. Our community was interested in purchasing the products and they were also eager to help.
But then, we faced two major hurdles:
- American customers were wary of wiring or sending money to Mexico.
- The cost of shipping for one product was extremely high.
That was when I reached out to Casa Paz a lovely artisan gift shop located in Oaxaca.
Days prior to messaging them, I had regrammed their “red clay pig vase” or the vase that many of you recognize as “the marranito vase.”
The post had gained lots of attention and people were loving it.
I thought to myself, if people love this, maybe I can try to get Mexican artisans and businesses in touch with American audiences by serving as a type of “liaison” here in the United States.
Having very little knowledge of what it would take to work directly with the artisans and not being in Oaxaca and Mexico myself, I started by asking Casa Paz if they would be interested in partnering with me.
At first they were wary, but once we spoke on the phone, our friendship developed into something quite special and we discussed ways that we could help the artisans reach more people in the United States.
While they worked on figuring out the cost of shipping and logistics, I began pouring myself into Shopify tutorials.
Having no money for inventory and very little experience with retail, I remember reading something about Kim Kardashian listing items for pre-sale and how she eliminated risk that way.
I thought, hmmm, why don’t we do the same thing?
So eventually, we launched Mexico In My Pocket’s Shopify store and listed the red clay pig vase via pre-sale. I was nervous and worried about how we would handle the logistics of everything, but it was a success!
As soon as the pig was listed on a Shopify website, the sales started happening.
I was ecstatic. For me, this was so much more than a sale. It was personal and purposeful. It was an opportunity to help the people I cared about so deeply and to help keep our Mexican culture and traditions alive.
From that moment on, in spite of the hurdles, late night hours, and broken marranitos along the way, I decided we needed to keep going. So we began partnering with more and more businesses and artisans and eventually (thanks to Casa Paz’s help) we were also able to donate despensas (pantry baskets) for the artisans.
After a year, my little apartment in Brooklyn, New York, was flooded with boxes and I needed to find a physical space to sell our products.
That was when my longtime amiga or “my Brooklyn mom,” offered me a retail space here in Brooklyn, New York.
shop new arrivals
I honestly couldn’t believe it. We had met 5 years ago when she opened her shop “Painted Swan” (my absolute favorite shop in Brooklyn) and in a full circle moment, she was giving me my chance.
So when people ask me “how did you get started?” I often smile, laugh, and tell them–– “It’s a long story, are you sure you want to hear it?”
But the truth is, I love telling it because it also means I get to introduce you to the amazing people who helped make all of this happen.
Thank YOU from the bottom of my heart for being part of this journey.
Con mucho amor,