We had the good fortune of connecting with Sandra Mendoza and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sandra, 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 want to give up every other week. I think that is normal for entrepreneurs and creatives. And if you are both-well, you often question your sanity. Being a business owner, during a pandemic, in a very niche business is not easy. But it also does not feel like a job and brings me and others joy. We need more joy in our lives. We need to balance the hard, uncomfortable parts with creativity and relationships. At the end of the day, those are the two things that keep me going – being creative and making relationships.
I think I would give up when it stops being fun. One can always pivot and continue to generate revenue. But if it stops being fun, why bother?
What should our readers know about your business?
I’m a style black sheep in my family. My mother would say, “porque te gustan esos trapos viejos?” Why do you like those old rags?
I started Debutante Clothing back in 2005. At that time there weren’t many vintage sellers online, and even fewer Latinas, so it was relatively easy to stand out. I was blogging a lot too. I loved writing about vintage, not just for content for my brand, but for the public in general.
Six years ago, I found a great little spot on the ground floor of a 1910 building in downtown Pomona. I saw so much potential in the little spot. I decided it was the sign I needed to open a brick and mortar. So I did. It has not been easy. You really have to hustle to get the right people through your doors because vintage isn’t for the average person off the street. And then add a pandemic to the infancy of my shop! But it’s been a rewarding challenge. I have great customers that have stuck by me. I’ve even met some new people because I spent most of my time on social media trying to stay in front of eyeballs while I was closed.
The only way to overcome new business challenges and external forces is to just keep showing up. I think this is the magic sauce. Just show up. Every day. When I am not working in my business, I am working on my business. My new goal is to hire on more help to delegate some of the things someone else can do better like social media.
What I would want people to know is that the most important thing to me and my team is that you are happy with your purchase and that you feel welcome and like a friend in the shop. Vintage stores can sometimes feel snooty or unapproachable. Debutante Clothing is NOT like that. We want to have a good time in cute clothes that make you unique. We are inclusive and just want you to feel fabulous.
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?
Mi Cafecito for blended Mocha Mexicanos Shopping at Pomona Antique Mart and Unhip Hippie
And then cocktails at O’Donovans 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?
SBA for giving a hand up during a pandemic. Vintage Fashion Guild for educating me.
owner of EmbersCinders.com for being my vintage partner in crime and always talking shop
Downtown Pomona Owners Association for giving business owners a voice