We had the good fortune of connecting with Ely Valdivia and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ely, every day, we about how much execution matters, but we think ideas matter as well. How did you come up with the idea for your business?
My journey with Earthy Corazon grew from my own process of healing. It blossomed in my recovery and reclamation to myself. I wanted to share the practices and tools that have helped me on my path. My path for self-discovery, wellbeing, (re)connection to community. I wanted to create candles and natural body care that not only show up as self-care, but also essential acts of liberation.
Before Earthy Corazon, I was dealing with addiction and deteriorating mental health. I developed self-destructive behaviors, to numb, and cope. Finding a sense of self and community felt uncomfortable and vulnerable. But I wasn’t alone with what I was going through, the impact of trauma is experienced by all people, from the individual to the globalized world. I began to surrender to the recovery process and decolonizing practices, to not only heal myself, but for my ancestors, my family, and future generations. This became an accessible form of liberation for me.
A year into my sobriety, I was at place where my labor of love could take root. I was setting intentions, attending healing circles, and creating practices of self-care at home. By that time, I was also making gifts for my loved ones. I honestly hated shopping at stores and at malls, it felt so stressful, consumerist, and empty. So, creating gifts with candles and body care, was my way of divesting from big-box retailers, and creating something that was much more meaningful. That’s where the idea sparked, and my family and friends motivated me to pursue this. For months, I was busy fleshing out the details, the formula’s, hand selecting ingredients. Being consciousness for the environment every step of the way, and the community I was making this for. In February 2020, Earthy Corazon was born in East Los Angeles.
My vision for Earthy Corazon was very personal early on and rooted with values that I hold dear to me. Nothing was done without intention. It became very clear to me that I was creating tools for personal care and wellness that connected to healing greater than myself.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
For years I seen self-care be marketed as a “movement of light and love”, I felt very disconnected from that modality, and I set a lot of intention with my shop to be critical of it. Self-care is not this toxic positivity, it’s the intentional time and space where we can tend to our bodies, our spirit, and our overall wellbeing. However, there are structures that prevent us from accessing that, and we can’t neglect it. For BIPOC, queer, trans people, whose bodies and lives are heavily marginalized—rest, pleasure, and autonomy has a long history of being denied to us. The act of reclaiming what makes us feel good, feel rested, making time for our rituals is a form of resistance that pushes back against capitalism and white supremacy.
This colonial worldview hyper focuses on the individual and self-care, but our strength and resilience is far greater than that. Our energy is transformative as communities creating systems in which self-care becomes community care. Where we can thrive in collective healing, as we continue to build spaces where we feel cared for and able to care for others.
Earthy Corazon began from a very personal journey of healing and gift giving, and since then it’s become a bridge to community. Earthy Corazon is a small shop of a 100% soy candles and natural body care made with love and intention. Each item is curated with ingredients and packaging that is vegan, ethically and or locally sourced. All my offerings are simple and whole. They offer support to the spaces where communities of color can tend to their wellness and healing. Throughout the pandemic, Earthy Corazon became a way for folks to send their love from afar, it helped loved ones stay connected by sending a meaningful gift, and I am so grateful to be a part of that energy exchange.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
First and foremost, I remind folks that is this the sacred and ancestral land of the Tongva people. Even if my family has come here as immigrants, we are guests on this stolen land.
I like to take friends to the local spots within my neighborhood, there’s just so many good places to visit in East LA. We’d start out with some café de olla and pan dulce from El Gallo Bakery. Then go on a hike to Ascot Hills, it’s a very easy trail with nice view of LA. We’d have several options for lunch, X’tiosu Kitchen which is a fusion of Oaxacan and Middle Eastern cuisine. If we wanted seafood, we’d go to Mariscos 4 Vientos. We’d go to Doomie’s Next Mex for vegan mexican food. Or ramen from Daikokuya, in Little Tokyo. We’d work our way from the eastside to DTLA, stopping at LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, the Flower District, and have a picnic at the Vista Hermosa Natural Park. We’d end the day with some street tacos and going to The New Jalisco Bar to support the LGBTQ spaces in LA, and I’d happily be sober and the designated driver. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My shoutout is dedicated to my youngest sibling, Andy Rodriguez, who has been my biggest inspiration for the work I do. Earthy Corazon is powered by our sisterhood, even if we are 14 years apart, this has helped us both bond in creative ways, and envision new opportunities for the future. She brings so much joy, and a helping hand, every time I feel like I am hanging by a thread. She helps me remember and rediscover my inner teenager. She is the reason I am becoming the older sister I wished I had at her age.
My friends and family who come through with their unconditional love and support through thick and thin. The community I have been able to connect with through Earthy Corazon, all of the new friends I have made through this journey, all of the folks I have collaborated with. I am so thankful to them because make they this labor of love possible.