More than News BeLatina, we like to highlight Property of Latinx small enterprises. However, what really catches our attention and inspires us even more is the small businesses going the extra mile and dedicating their ecommerce to helping others. This month we had the pleasure of meeting Adelita’s Apparel, an immigrant-owned company tiendita organized by two sisters, Yajahira and Atziri Peña, that’s exactly what it does.
By coming together, the sisters brought this passionate project to life that sells products that advocate for serious issues, such as their Abolish Ice T-Shirt, and serves as a space that supports DACA students by creating funds for their annual renewal process. Adelita’s Apparel also has a Binding Fund to help our LGBTQ + community, and on top of that, they’ve also created a digital library with important resources to help their community.
The Peña sisters have definitely been thinking in terms of inclusiveness and compassion, making sure to include the LGBTQ + community and highlighting mental health awareness, which are sometimes seen as weaknesses in the Latinx community.
To get a glimpse of their meaningful clothing store, we spoke to Atziri Peña about what sets their family business apart – how they run as a small business, and their overarching goal of helping their undocumented community.
Tell us about Adelita’s clothes. How did this project get started ? How long have you been working on it?
We have had Adelita’s Apparel for over three years. We started in 2017. We started because we were students and we needed a way to pay for our books. We used to have a different business: my sister was selling vintage clothes, and I was selling group shirts, and that’s how we make our money. We decided one day that we wanted to do something a little more meaningful and a way to really help our community. So we launched Adelita’s Apparel in 2017 with the money we both earned separately.
The reason we created the DACA fund was that we were in college struggling to pay that $ 500 fee every two years, and what people don’t realize is that $ 500, that’s a lot, but a lot of these families pay it for more than one person. We pay three in our family, so it’s already $ 1,500 every two years.
DACA renewal funds brought our attention to Adelita’s Apparel. First, how does Adelita’s Apparel choose the artists for the collection?
We’re just asking people to contribute. It is based on the one who wants to actively help. We are not returning anyone. If someone doesn’t sell or don’t have a store but would like to donate, we accept that as well. We have a lot of people who travel outside and bring souvenirs and send them to us to sell. We also have artists who donate the designs and tell us what they want them to be used for.
One hundred percent of what you buy from this collection goes to the DACA fund. We do not take a price cut. The artist or person who made a donation [the merchandise] also does not take a price cut.
Reply to @spilled_horchata glad to be able to meet again #undocumented #undocuqueer #undocu #masc #wlw #latinx #sapphic #mexican #heretostay
♬ Opportunity – Quvenzhané Wallis
When it comes to DACA renewal funds, do you pick the candidates? Or how do you distribute them?
So, DACA renewal funds, the way we choose who can apply is really simple. We opened the application, and anyone could apply. At the moment they [the U.S. government] do not accept new candidates, so these are strictly renewals that we do. We only ask for their name and expiration date – it doesn’t matter where they are from. It’s not just based in Los Angeles. It’s based on which one applies. The only downside is that we are such a small brand, so when we open the DACA fund it’s only for sometimes five people, other times 10 or 20. We then close it, and once we fund the number of people we have, we reopen it. It is an application that opens and closes.
You also do Binder funds. How did this happen and how are you working on it? For those who don’t know, tell us what a Binder fund is.
A binder is what people, whether trans or non-binary, use to hide their cleavage. It helps people feel more comfortable with who they are, and we started this because we realized we have such a large LGBTQ + community. A big problem with this is that most LGBTQ + people, especially in a Latinx household, are not open about it. What comes with this is that you are not that open to asking your parents to give you money to fund a workbook because they will not be open to the idea, or that’s fine with you. to lose. So we decided it would be a good idea to fund this and help people pay for it because it’s almost like a bra – you can’t buy just one bra and be fine for months on end. . You need to buy two or three. It adds up.
How did you get involved in the community? What would you advise those who are trying to do the same?
One of the most important things that has helped us get involved in the community is that we grew up going to swapmeet. My mom worked at swapmeet, so we were still in that community. We ourselves are undocumented, so it helps us to understand and talk about the issues without it being so one-sided. We understand what our community needs. Many people don’t even know that DACA costs up to $ 500. Sometimes people ask us how much it costs, thinking it costs about $ 100, and when we tell them how much it is, they’re like, “Oh my God, I thought I was going to be able to fund a whole lot! But I will come back when I have this money and I will help! So we are able to create more awareness through that.
The best advice I can give is that the community is always going through this. When we talk about our DACA fund or our tying fund, we are always thanked for our work, but it is a community effort – not just an effort on our part. One of the biggest tips is to build community and really listen to the people you support and nurture. And know that you are not alone. A lot of people are afraid of starting a business or just trying to take a leap of faith to do what they aspire to do, but it still takes that person to do it!
As a small business owner and immigrant, what challenges have you encountered in the world of e-commerce?
A lot of people don’t take us seriously. People think our father owns the business because they don’t see it as a business run by women. It’s hard, especially when making shirts. A lot of the people who sell shirts are men so a lot of business deals sometimes have to go through my dad so people don’t take advantage of us.
What is your goal for Adelita’s Apparel?
Right now we’re trying to get our lipstick line out. This is the second year that we have been working on it. Apart from that, creating more spaces like we do and bringing in more inventory that better reflects who we are as people.
Would you like to add anything else?
One of the things we would like to add is investing in your undocumented community, especially now that we are not getting as much funding or aid as we should be – especially our street vendors!
Our parents deserve better too #latinx #latine #hispanictiktok #mexican #undocuhustle #undocuowned #heretostay #latinaentrepreneur #latinastiktok
original sonido – Michelle 🖤