Today we’d like to introduce you to Jolin Miranda.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Jolin. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I am a self-taught artist born in Glendale, CA. I’m also the owner of Boricubi, an online shop that features artwork creations and adornments made to empower women with self-love and representation. Growing up, Afro-Latinx in Southern California has had its challenges. I didn’t know where I fit in. As a child, I had a hard time feeling accepted by both my African American and Latinx peers. I had dark skin, kinky textured hair, and spoke Spanish. I definitely confused people. People’s favorite question was, “How did you learn to speak Spanish?” My response was always that I had Puerto Rican and Cuban parents. For most people that answer was never good enough. I felt very frustrated and annoyed with constantly having to explain my self. I didn’t feel pretty due to not having the same features as the Latinx that live in California. I felt somewhat of an outcast.
Drawing was a talent I had all my life. In 2003 I painted my first acrylic painting on canvas. At the time, I had an obsession with mermaids and fairies. Unfortunately, I had a hard time finding one that looked like me. Most fairies were fair-skinned and had flowing straight hair. It was then that I decided to paint a portrait of myself as a fairy. From then on, I began to have a collection of paintings in which I kept to myself or gave as gifts to family members.
In 2014 I decided to open an online store called Boricubi. Did I mention I was also a struggling actress AND a new mom looking for ways to supplement my income? Being an aspiring actress in Hollywood meant having to be available for auditions, which meant having flexible jobs to cover your overhead. “Maybe I could sell art online, still do my acting and provide for my child,” was a thought that made sense to me. Little did I know, the process was not going to be that simple. I didn’t get much traffic in my shop and I hardly had sales. I began to feel discouraged and eventually just let the online store sit.
Finally, two years after opening my online shop, I mustered up the courage to put my brand out there. I began selling my artwork at local craft shows and events. My artwork consisted of vibrant mixed media canvases with various portraits of women of color. The response was amazing! Both men and women would stop by my booth with excitement in their eyes. They were in awe at the fact that they came across an artist that they could identify with…That their daughters could identify with. They loved that I represented various Women of Color and that I had incorporated my culture in my art.
Since then, I began putting my artwork on T-shirts, purses, necklaces and even earrings. My earrings are my biggest hit! Women of all ages love my earrings. I call them Wearable Art Earrings. Each pair is hand-painted by me and are one-of-a-kind. Most people don’t realize that they are hand crafted and painted.
Has it been a smooth road?
My journey has been anything but smooth. It’s been more like a roller-coaster ride with lots of unexpected flips and turns. Lots of sleepless nights. Lots of trials and errors. All in all, I wouldn’t change it for anything. How else would I truly appreciate the fruits of my labor? I think it’s really important to have a strong support team. I’ve been fortunate enough to have my family and friends as my cheerleaders.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
Boricubi is the name of my business. The name comes from a play on words, Boricua (Puerto Rican) and Cubiche (Cuban, like the radio dj Eric Cubiche). Boricubi features my artwork on stickers, cards, purses, brooches, earrings you name it. My most popular items are my Hand-painted Art Earrings. These statement earrings are one-of-a-kind with faces of characters I’ve designed. Many of my designs are influenced by my Afro Latinx culture. It feels amazing to hear from my collectors that my earrings make them feel empowered and beautiful. I’m often told by my collectors that when they wear my earrings they receive endless compliments. Now that’s rewarding!
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I love LA! I love the food, the diversity in culture, and the fun activities/events it has to offer. My least favorite thing about LA is the expensive cost of housing. The average household has a hard time paying their rent even with two incomes. Also, I wouldn’t say I like the traffic. During rush hour, 6 miles might take you 45 minutes to drive.
- Website: www.boricubi.etsy.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: boricubi
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/boricubi