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Meet Cristal Bueno of ¡Bueno! Designs in El Sereno


Today we’d like to introduce you to Cristal Bueno.

Cristal, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I was born in the heart of Los Angeles and grew up in El Sereno, California. El Sereno is located east of LA County, a small community which borders Alhambra and Pasadena. Mexican-American, I grew up in a household of all sisters with both Mexican parents. My parents came to the US in the late 70’s and found their way to Los Angeles with dreams to start a family here and work hard to provide. Both came from low-income households in Mexico. My mother grew up in a small farm town and started working at a very early age to help her parents while my father grew up in the city also working at a very early age. Growing up, I learned Spanish as my first language from my parents and English from school and watching American tv. My parents always emphasized family values, the importance of working hard and education. My mom’s goal was to have all her daughters get an education, a career and be able to provide for oneself.

I attended elementary, middle school and high school in El Sereno. I always had an idea that I wanted to go to college and study something I enjoyed and could see myself working in. It also helped that at the time, my older sister Nancy was in her last year of college and the first in our family to attend university. Since I can remember, I had a passion for art; drawing, painting, crafting to name a few. During my senior year of high school, I decided I wanted to major in art…and so for the next four years, I was a full-time student at Mount St. Mary’s University in Brentwood, CA. I graduated with a B.A. in Fine Art & Graphic Design with a Business Administration minor.

It was a challenging time after university…as far as looking for that first shiny job right after graduating…that one dreams of. But nothing comes easy of course, and it helps build your character and the drive to reach success…which is something I find even today that it helps a great amount. I started out working in editorial design for L.A.’s national Spanish language newspaper, La Opinion. Then I went on to the toy industry, working in graphic design and also in product development designing toys. Today, I design packaging for a major beauty brand.

During my time in college, my sister Nancy and I would make and design handbags…we loved to create and I joined her in designing bags and constructing them. We started with a booth at the Pasadena Flea market selling our creations. That was one of the first entrepreneurship interests that I dove into. Around 2015, I realized that I missed creating, aside from having a full-time design job. One of my favorite holidays/ traditions from my Mexican heritage is Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead). A tradition where on Nov 1&2, altars are created with offerings and pictures to remember and celebrate those who have passed. I have always loved dressing up as a sugar skull (calavera) and all the beautiful colors of this tradition. That is when ¡Bueno! Designs was created, taken from our last name “Bueno” which means “good” in Spanish. It’s our small business of our creative ideas mixed with our traditional Mexican roots and American upbringing with a modern “artisanal” twist. We make tortilla warmers, fanny packs, keychains, pillows, handbags – all handmade by us! We enjoy bringing our ideas to life and to our audience!

I am proud where I came from and I still strive to reach more and express so much more within my small business and in my career.

Has it been a smooth road?
It has definitely not been a smooth road, but to be honest I would not have wanted it to be a smooth road. I think it helps build character, makes you stronger and overall hustle more! Any obstacles make me a better person in life and in my business. I hope our products put a smile on someone’s face and make them happy or encourage them to have a dream and make it reality….to have some kind of impact.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the ¡Bueno! Designs story. Tell us more about the business.
I am co-founder of ¡Bueno! Designs along with my sister Nancy. I am the graphic designer, product designer, social media and photographer for our brand. We are two Latina sisters bringing our love for Dia de Los Muertos in a modern artisan twist. It’s about bringing our creative ideas that express our Mexican culture with our L.A. upbringing. We are known for our whimsical tortilla warmers that come in a variety of bright colors and fun prints! We also make handbags, keychains, make-up bags, decorative pillows, totes and fanny packs to name a few. Most proud of our company is that we have an audience who enjoys and embraces our products and culture. We get to create our ideas and work as a team. What sets ¡Bueno! Designs apart is our ideas are one-of-kind, our love for Dia de Los Muertos and our cultura is definitely what sets us apart, our items are handmade by us and made with a lot of corazon(heart)!

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
I feel the Latinx industry growing so much more than in the last few years. I feel it is more present than ever and there is a larger audience embracing it and wanting to learn more about. I have seen a very large trend in Dia de Los Muertos, from Disney’s Coco to seeing products in major stores to fashion, it’s everywhere!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
!bueno!designs; Cristal Bueno

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