I started my business because I was experiencing challenges in my personal life that were affecting my mental health. Excessive eating, drinking, and unhealthy relationships were affecting my sanity. I couldn't continue being this kind of role model to my child. I needed a creative outlet in order to escape from what I was not dealing with at home. Vending was something I knew very well. In fact, my first work experience (age 6) was vending pillows down Cesar Chavez Ave. My parents often bragged that I was top seller. My passion for fashion and resourcefulness helped my crafty and entrepreneurial ability evolve. I started designing and constructing purses. I was also vending at Melrose outpost and doing consignment at boutiques on the Melrose strip! I eventually sold wholesale to Wet Seal. They purchased my faux leopard triangle wristlet (see photo below). It was lined with black satin and trimmed with beaded black crystal fringed tassels. It was a cute and fabulous club purse. It sold out at Arden B and I was asked to provide a design for an upcoming season. I didn’t continue with this venture because it was a lot of work and I had very little support with almost no network during that time. I took a big break but then I came back and rebranded my business six years ago.
During that time, I was learning about cultural awareness in preparation for a counseling graduate course I was teaching. Strong cultural identity is good for our mental health. It gives us confidence and helps with depression. Of course I connected this to my fashion. I recognized how important it was becoming for us Latinas to see increasing representation of our culture in our fashion. I decided I was going to be authentically me. A Chicana from East LA. Still, I was discouraged from being loud and proud of my roots and was advised (by many) not to claim Chicana and advised to claim Latina instead. “Claiming Latina will allow you to reach a wider audience, it’s more inclusive”, I was advised. Not that being a Chicana is not widely accepted, it's just not universally known! Is it not possible for a Chicana brand from East LA to considered Luxury? This has now become a challenge that I decided to take on. Many recognizable luxury brands were once small rural town family owned businesses. Their success did not come overnight or without some failures, obstacles, and major headaches. I think it's very possible for a Chicana to compete with high end Luxury brands around the world. I like these monogram and highly priced or knocked off purses, but they do not represent me. I started my business because I love purses and I wanted a fabulous purse that is representative of me and the majority of women I know and love. I wanted a purse that made me look good, feel good and do good. A Mexichic Crafts purse!
Diana Diaz- The first chicana luxury leather designer from East L.A.
Thank you for loving my product and for reading my blog! Please continue to support me by sharing my product to friends and people you know!
*My dad and my siblings selling bedspreads at Mission Swap meet in Pomona. I was 5yrs old when we started vending there.
*Chicana inspired, Chicana designed!
*Coming soon and partially funded by the Kaiser foundation. Hosted by The Goddess Mercado. Chats about how to keep growing our business while we heal and strengthen our mental health.