We had the good fortune of connecting with Lily Lopez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lily, do you have some perspective or insight you can share with us on the question of when someone should give up versus when they should keep going?
I would say to make sure that what you are doing is something you are truly passionate about. I’ve held many jobs throughout my life and moved on from them if I didn’t feel they brought me true happiness. It’s okay to step away and start from scratch, it doesn’t matter how old you are, there is no limit, as long as you are willing to continue and start again. Once you find what you feel is your true calling, you’ll know it because the long nights and overtime won’t feel as heavy. Even then, you’re bound to face some obstacles along the way, perhaps even shift away from the original plan, and that’s okay, as long as it’s something you are passionate about. Whenever the thought of giving up crosses my mind, I remember my parents and their journey. The countless obstacles they faced when they started their new life in the United States, but adapted the best they could. I am a first-generation Mexican Latina. My parents immigrated to the U.S. from Guadalajara, Mexico. My father taught me the importance of hard work and finding one’s passion. At the age of 15, he worked long hours in Bakersfield for three years picking lettuce and strawberries under the blazing hot sun. He always said, if he was going to pick fruits and vegetables for a living, he was going to be the best and give it his all. Nonetheless, he didn’t give up, he pushed on and moved forward, changed jobs until he was able to find his true passion. It was the same with my mother, she never stopped creating art despite the challenges she faced. In a way, art was her escape and a way to relieve stress from the hardships of life. Their strength and sacrifice remind me of how fortunate I am to be able to pursue an education and follow my own dreams, it’s what keeps me going. It is best to keep pushing forward and take each day as it comes while working toward your goals.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I feel like I do a little bit of everything. I’m currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications with an emphasis in Journalism. When I’m not doing homework or in zoom meetings, I’m sewing, designing and putting orders together. My shop is called Lilibun, after a childhood nickname. I mainly work with felt fabric made from recycled materials. There’s just something about its simplicity and being able to jazz it up and turn it into a colorful and unique piece. My shop is known as the very colorful shop, where I make wall hangings and unique pieces from my culture. Like many small business owners, I run the shop myself, meaning I’m the designer, the seamstress, the shipper and the marketer. I wear a lot of hats which can feel a little overwhelming during peak seasons but I love it. When creating my pieces, I treat it as if it were an art piece. The whole world goes silent and all of my focus goes into the piece I’m working on. My worries and anxieties fade away when I’m crafting, cutting, sewing, gluing and drawing. I come from a creative background and have been writing and making art since childhood. Overall, my small business journey has taken me a few years to grow with a lot of trial and error along the way. It wasn’t easy when I first started, but I kept creating and learned through my mistakes. I also found a community of other creatives online, who often share tips, support and words of encouragement with each other. My shop is a place where I can share bits and pieces of my world and favorite things.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would absolutely take them to my favorite local shops. Right now, a lot of businesses are hurting due to COVID-19. Many of my favorite spots have curbside pickup available and are still open for business while taking the necessary precautions. Downtown Pomona is a gem where you can find a lot of great places. I’d start with Mi Cafecito Coffee Shop, which makes my favorite horchata and mazapan iced latte. The shop is Latinx owned and focuses on creating a space where people from different communities can gather and unite over a cup of coffee. They are currently offering online ordering and curbside pickup as well as walk in service. Another great spot is Cafe Con Libros Press, which is a Latinx owned bookstore in the heart of downtown Pomona. This bookstore celebrates the stories and traditions of people of color, first generation college grads, women of color, immigrant advocates and more. They are still open for business with a large variety of books available. My favorite vegan and vegetarian restaurant is Borreguitas Bar Express, it is also located in Pomona. It is Latinx owned and has the best tacos in town. If you’re in the mood for great breakfast food, R&R Breakfast Spot in Chino, has the best breakfast burritos and sandwiches. They are a Black-Owned business currently open and taking online orders for delivery and pickup. Lastly, Sweet Obsession Cheesecake located in downtown Upland, is the spot for the best cheesecake with unique flavors daily. They are also a Black-Owned business currently open for takeout.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to give credit and recognition to my wonderful parents. I couldn’t have gotten where I am today without the help and support of my family. I am truly thankful for all of their sacrifices and unconditional love. Their acts of selflessness have opened the door to an abundance of opportunities for my siblings and I.