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Hidden Gems: Meet Brenda Heredia of Quherencia

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brenda Heredia.

Hi Brenda, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I am the owner of Quherencia. I was born in Mexico City and I immigrated to the United States back in 2014 when I was 15 years old. I currently go to Cal State Fullerton, and I am pursuing a double major in Business Marketing and Spanish, along with a Translation Certificate. I am a first-generation, low-income woman passionate about the advocacy and liberation of marginalized communities. The transition between living in Mexico and moving to the United States has affected my personal development and mental health, but ever since I opened my shop I have been going through a process of healing, blooming, and self-embracement. Quherencia provides me with hope, love, support from my community, and it makes me feel seen and capable of achieving my dreams.

I started my shop in November 2020. Prior to Quherencia I co-owned another shop which unfortunately had to be closed, but it did provide me with a great insight which I continued implementing on Quherencia. I started making beaded jewelry such as bracelets, rings, earrings, anklets, and necklaces, which later on turned to be made by my mom. I also have stickers, paracord bracelets, and wire-rings made by my dad. A couple of months later, I had the idea of making candles which now is the main focus of my shop and probably the main reason what my shop is known for.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It definitely has not been a smooth road. Starting an online shop from scratch was rough, but fortunately, I had great friends who were kind enough to give me insight and always answer my questions. My shop is 100% driven by me. I purchase my materials, hand-make all my products, take pictures and upload them to my website, pack all my orders, handwrite thank you cards, ship them, and keep three social media accounts as active as possible. I am a full-time student, I am involved on campus, and I also have a part-time job. Sometimes imposter syndrome kicks in and it is really difficult to keep myself focused and motivated. A lot of times, I feel overwhelmed, but the support from my family and my community always makes it worth it.

My immigration status has also played a giant role. As a non-DACA recipient, finding the motivation to do something for my future has been tremendously difficult. I am used to having little to no opportunities lined up for my future. For seven years, I’ve been feeling hopeless, lost, anxious, without purpose. I struggle to come up with plans because they tend to fade away once something is said by the government. Ever since I opened my shop, I have been able to allow myself to set goals, plan, and embrace myself. Now I feel like I actually have a purpose and I can make my shop grow without the need of proving my humanity.

We’ve been impressed with Quherencia, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
The name of my shop, Quherencia has many meanings. Querencia in Spanish refers to a place where one feels their most authentic self, it is a place where one feels home. I added an “H” in the middle to represent the word “Here”, which creates a sense of belonging within my community. The “Here” can also stand for my last name, “Heredia”, and within the name, the word “Herencia” (Heritage) is also formed, which represents the many identities, experiences (positive and negative), and cultural backgrounds that are transferred within our older and younger generations.

I am currently focused on candle making as well as beaded jewelry making. I would say I am the most known for my candles, given that all of them are hand-poured and one-of-a-kind. They are all different scented/colored and are topped with different elements such as flowers, sparks, and crystals. My candles are vegan (they are made of natural soy) and sustainable (most of my candle recipients are thrifted and upcycled). As for my jewelry, I self-taught myself and then I taught my mom, who now is the one making all the beaded jewelry. My dad has also started making some rings and necklaces. My shop has unified us as a family and has allowed us to express ourselves through objects we make with our own hands. All my products are 100% handmade.

Brand wise, I am really proud of the achievements my shop has achieved. In less than a year, I have found a community that continuously supports my shop and uplifts my achievements. I am proud of my friends who have gotten inspired by my shop and have started their own businesses as well, and I am proud of myself for being able to be out there despite things such as my status, my mental health, financial hardships, and targeted identities.

Through its products, my shop Quherencia hopes to promote self-discovery, growth, and healing while bringing a sentiment of home and belongingness.

Is there something surprising that you feel even people who know you might not know about?
I am usually very transparent when it comes to myself and my brand, but if I had to pick something that not everyone knows is how much love and dedication I put into my shop. As a normal person, I have good and bad days, I have days when I am extremely motivated and days when packing an order takes the longest time. I think it’s important for everyone to recognize their good days but also their bad ones and acknowledge feelings and capabilities.

I will admit that I have overworked myself only to reach certain deadlines, or just because I want myself to continue working despite how tired I am, but little by little I’ve been allowing my body to rest so the effort and love come out twice as strong. Making my products involves a long process in which I always put a lot of love and effort into, managing a shop itself requires a lot of time and planning skills, and it can take a while for a person to develop these skills. It has been a tough road, but I wouldn’t change the experience at all.

This shop has given me the hope I lost throughout the years. This shop has allowed me to help myself and my parents, and I’m working so hard so that one day I will be able to help my entire community.

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