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Life and Work with Nydia Huizar

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nydia Huizar.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Nydia. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
BarbacoApparel was born back in 2014. Partners Matt Contreras, Richard Diaz, and I were working as editors for a publisher and would use our lunch hour or afternoon breaks to think of side businesses for extra income and added professional experience. After turning down a number of ideas, we landed on BarbacoApparel, an apparel line that celebrates South Texas.

I had always been interested in design, but since I’m not formally trained, I was intimidated with trying my hand at fine art. T-shirts, on the other hand, were a casual medium that fit with my comfort level and aesthetic. We wanted to offer people in our community funny, colorful shirts that they could identify with. As luck would have it, our first three shirts really struck a chord with people who passed by our booth, and we knew we had tapped into something important and something that was much needed in San Antonio.

Over the course of five years, the brand has grown to offer apparel in both adult and youth sizes as well as jewelry, enamel pins, totes, and more! Our business has also grown with the addition of our wholesale partner, Catherine Contreras, who has gotten our merchandise into stores across Texas! We’ve been fortunate to work on a few H-E-B campaigns and be featured on TV as well as web and print publications!

We recently purchased our very own screen-printing press and plan to expand our line even further in the coming months!

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
With a lot of work and many blessings, we’ve grown quite a cult following (some of my designs have been topics of articles, which is very bizarre to me but awesome). But it hasn’t always been a smooth road. I’ve often questioned whether being a creative entrepreneur is worth it. There are moments when a popular design has been stolen or reproduced (to those starting out, protect your work and lawyer up).

There have been moments when we’ve earned less from an event than the cost to apply (to those starting out, think long and hard about where you are in your business and whether an event that will only generate X number of attendees is worth the cost of production, supplies, and application fee(s) as well as your time; learn to say no to opportunities you’ve outgrown or yes to opportunities that may not be financially fruitful but will increase your contacts).

There have been days when we haven’t gotten sleep because we were juggling our full-time jobs with the small business responsibilities (to those starting out, develop a calendar for yourself and be prepared for long hours).

In the end, though, nothing is more rewarding than being your own boss and knowing that you’ve added something new to the world–that you’ve brought a smile to someone’s face.

Be thoughtful in your actions and be persistent.

Please tell us about BarbacoApparel.
BarbacoApparel is a T-shirt company that focuses on Latinx culture and Texas–something that sets us apart from other apparel lines. I’m one of the founding partners of the brand, and I’m the designer. I also help maintain the website, process online orders, help create content for social media, and assist with wholesale/consignment when needed.

I’m proud of our work with H-E-B as well as the press and awards we’ve gotten from the community.

Who have you been inspired by?
My grandmother has served as a huge inspiration to me. She was a strong, confident woman who did not have an opportunity to attend school past the third grade. Yet she didn’t let her inability to read stop her from taking on the world the way in which she did. She was an avid traveler, a hard worker, an amazing storyteller, and one of the best human beings I’ve ever known.

My mother has also been a huge inspiration. She was the first person in her family to attend college. She’s fiercely independent and never takes no for an answer. Not only that, but she’s smart and funny and a really good mom.


  • Adult Tees – $24
  • Onesies/Youth Tees – $20
  • Jewelry and large Enamel Pins – $15
  • Regular-size Enamel Pins – $10
  • Totes – $10
  • Prints – $10
  • Magnets and Mirrors – $6
  • Vinyl Stickers – $2
  • Post Cards – $1

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Sarah Cooper, Brian Bean, Matt Contreras, Nydia Huizar

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