Today we’d like to introduce you to Yvonne Mendoza.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Yvonne. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Tierra was born out of my love for my culture, Mexico. It was also created to respect and showcase the Mexican hustle and a place where my social work values are put into practice. Tierra began during my graduate school years. As a social worker, social justice and empowerment, are part of what I believe and what I hope to create. It was in my classes where I wrestled with how to positively stir impact in my community. Tierra began as an online market. We began to sell a very limited selection of things. I traveled to Mexico and would ask artisans to take a leap of faith with me. They had to trust me and them as well. We are a fair-trade market-place. I wanted to make sure and follow an economic empowerment model. Teaching artisans that they can scale and expand with anyone they come across. We respect very much what they create and do not change their designs. More importantly, we pay them a fair price for every piece we carry.
I am will be forever grateful for the first artisans we began to work with. We both had a lot to lose, but they dared with me. After the online market began we started doing pop-ups around Houston, meeting our customers, and sharing our vision and store with people. May of 2017 we opened our first brick and mortar! I took my savings and put them in the store! We are here to accurately portray different regions of Mexico with Houston and to have a social enterprise that is here to build a company that is fair and ethical. Where we might lose at times, but where people who create and live off their creations win. Also, in such a time as this, we want to remind people that Mexico and its people living there and nowhere are hard working, hustlers, in love with color, culture, and traditions. Something that we are not hearing enough of.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Not at all! Is it do-able, yes, is it difficult, absolutely. After graduating, I decided that this dream was worth investing. That is a choice I make daily. There are things that I choose not to do and invest in because my financial investment is in Tierra. This is hard sometimes, but when I sit in my store and hear from the artisans and how they are growing it is so worth it to me. I also work full-time as a school social worker. Let me tell you I haven’t found the balance of things. This is a continued struggle. My advice for women is to make sure you have people that believe in you. You will need them often! Nothing is meant to be done alone and my family and close friends have been an incredible blessing. There have been pivotal points throughout this journey where I physically could not take care of Tierra and they stepped in. Also, sometimes I think we believe we need to have a lump sum of money to start something, although that is nice, most of us do not. Do it anyway, go for it! Be wise, but dare greatly.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Tierra de los Artesanos – what should we know?
I am a licensed social worker, I am a mental health professional by day. I practice in my field during the day and then work on Tierra simultaneously! Tierra’s focus is on ethical merchandise. We are a fair-trade store, yes you can probably find a similar shirt at a cheaper price, but we will tell you who made your clothes, where it came from and how long we have known that family, This is our specialty.
We are most proud of showcasing different regions of Mexico through fair-trade practices. This is what sets us apart. And when we travel to Mexico you come with us, through our stories and the artisans.
What’s the most important piece of advice you could give to a young woman just starting her career?
That we are braver than we think. We are also resilient beings. So go after your dream! Do it, think about, name it, share it, put it out there and see it manifest. What usually stops us is us. Also, as my mother has taught me, “Hay sol para todos”, meaning there is sun for everybody. I let my clients and customers choose us. Do not fret when something similar appears, there is sun for everyone.
- Address: Brick and Mortar:
720A Telephone Road
Houston, TX 77023
- Website: www.tierradelosartesanos.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: tierra.yvonne
- Facebook: facebook.com/tierradelosartesanos