We had the good fortune of connecting with Yvonne Marquez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Yvonne, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
We wanted to be ready, not so much financially but mentally. We knew starting a business was going to take hard work and commitment so we needed to feel ready. When the opportunity arose, we didn’t have to think about it, we knew the universe was telling us to go for it!
What should our readers know about your business?
We are a collective group of Latina, Chicana, Queer, Indigenous Artist, Makers and Designers. Our business uplifts and spotlights those that are marginalized in our community and those that may not have the opportunities to sell their wares in a gift boutique. We pride ourselves in knowing that along with those business opportunities, we are also giving opportunities to high school students to come into the store and learn about a small business. Aside from being a unique gift boutique, we are also a place for all people to come and experience a safe space to be authentically themselves. We want to teach our younger gente about our Chicana/o/x culture and show them to be proud of our cultura.
We started building our business years ago without really knowing what we were doing. Dia de los Muertos was a holiday that was very important in our culture and for over 20 years I was involved in building ofrendas. I started to make Chicana art, blending my American and Mexican heritage. In time I wanted to share my love of culture and the holiday. And during the pandemic we felt that we needed to slow down in our 9-5 jobs and take a risk. My dream has always been to open a small business that sells Chicana Art. No better time than the present.
Our challenges have only been eternal, meaning our insecurities of knowing we can make this business succeed. Are we ready, will people love our store and what we have to offer? Knowing that we are a place for our Queer, Chicana, Indigenous communities to come visit makes all our insecurities go away. We’ve heard that we are much needed in Long Beach. We are proud to be one of the only Queer/ Chicana owned gift boutiques in our city, however, we know we are paving the way for many more to follow and excited to have a seat at the table.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Long Beach is a city where there is always something interesting to do…
We would start our day at my favorite coffee shop Viento y Agua and grab a Mexican Mocha.
Next we’d have a little breakfast at The Coffee Cup and head to the Rosie’s Dog Beach. After sitting on the beach for a bit we’d head over to Plantiitas on Retro Row to do some plant shopping. We then head to Speak Cheesy for my favorite sourdough pizza and finding a spot near the water to enjoy dinner, maybe even rent a boat and taking it through Naples canal.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
We have so many supporters from family members that have lent a hand, mentors with their words of wisdom to fellow small business owners who have shared our story. We want to shoutout the owners of Plantiitas here in Long Beach that believed in us and gave us the opportunity to grow into a small business. Our business uplifts and spotlights Latina, Queer, Indigenous, Chicana artist, makers and designers.
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