We had the good fortune of connecting with Melissa Martinez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Melissa, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I was a Social Worker, a Mother, and I acquired a chronic illness. All three being difficult to juggle, I needed to find a new way to support my family. I had an obsession with food and cooking since I was nine years old. My love for my culture and handmade traditions kept me always creating in different ways. In my healing journey, I used plant based cooking and baking to navigate my path. I became really good at it. It gradually became something that empowered me while finding healing and having a family. Desserts in their simplicity are beautiful. They are filled with emotion for some and filled with stories for others. Reminiscing on comfort and love from a particular time makes me so happy to see in folks when they eat a vegan concha, or have a polvoron. They haven’t had that memory in years and I was able to help them find that again. We now have pastries at two coffee shops in the Inland Empire, as well as provide custom cakes, pastry boxes, and custom ordered pastries (all vegan).
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I love that Vegancitas is mine. It’s something I can mold into what I want or need creatively. Community enjoys what I create so it’s an energy exchange. I sacrificed a lot into dedicating my time into learning what I needed to do or how to stay two steps ahead in order to stay independent. There was a time when depending on other organizers/business owners/”influencers” and their pop ups was a moment of sink or swim to pay some bills. I started organizing my own independent pop ups to create my own avenue of income along with fulfilling a need locally for folks to find plant based desserts. The success of them created a consistent rhythm that has allowed Vegancitas to thrive even in 2020. I’ve learned that I really am good at what I do. I took a long time for me to really understand my worth in this world. Owning my own creative business has given me more opportunities than I ever imagined.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My sons, Paolo and Joaquin. They are a huge part of why I never give up. It’s my job to show them how to succeed on our own terms and knowing our worth. My Nana whom has always been my support and best friend. She passed in June, so I’m thankful she’s a guiding ancestor now. I miss her terribly though; she was my muse, my inspiration.