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Meet Lily Lopez of LiliBun Designs in Ontario

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lily Lopez.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I have been sewing and crafting since I was very young. I began sewing and putting pieces together around age five. My mom used to make all of our Halloween costumes and home decors such as curtains and table runners. While she was busy sewing her projects, I began making clothes for my dolls and toys. During one summer in Mexico, I was about ten years old, my late Aunt Martha, who was a seamstress, suggested I take a sewing class to better my skills. I’m very happy I did, it was a great experience where I learned all the important basics that I still use today. I continued sewing and crafting from there on.

For every holiday and birthday, I always made the decorations, cards and party decor for my family and friends. I always made sure each person received something meaningful and personalized. I always dreamed of having my own online shop where I can share my products with a larger audience but it took me almost five years to finally open my shop. Around the end of the year of 2016, I became aware of my struggle with anxiety and I found that the best way to help me relax was to sew. Focusing on one thing brought me lots of joy and relaxation. My boyfriend was laid off from his full-time job around the same time which made it difficult for us financially. Both my anxiety and the lack of money motivated me to finally open my shop. It was the push I was waiting for.

The name of my shop is Lilibun, which was a childhood nickname. I wanted my shop to include things that I loved and pieces from my culture. As soon as I opened my shop, my creativity sparked and I began creating. I naturally gravitated towards bright, vibrant colors and it soon became the theme of my small business. I mainly work with the felt fabric. Most of the fabric I use is made from recycled post-consumer plastic bottles. The colors that are a little difficult to find are made from 100% wool. Why felt? I love it. It’s known as the easiest fabric to work with and completely agree, you can make almost anything with it. I love that it lasts a long time and if it gets dirty you can wipe it with a damp cloth.

My shop focuses on party and home decor. I sell items such as Mexican sweet bread hanging garland, known as Conchas or Concha garland, Cactus garlands, Taco garlands, donut garlands, llama garlands and many more.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I struggled a little bit in the beginning. Mostly with pricing. I was losing money because I didn’t quite know how to calculate my prices at the time. Also trying to stand out on a website (Etsy) where many people have similar items was difficult. I didn’t have a social media account at the time which wasn’t helping my sales either.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
My shop is known as the colorful and vibrant garland shop. I focus on items that I love and from my culture. I’m Mexican, so I naturally began creating decorations with my favorite sweet bread, the concha or cactus plants. All of my items are mostly made with felt fabric. I love making things that are bright and colorful.

I’m very happy with the positive feedback I’ve gotten about my items. It takes me about 1-2 weeks to finish an item because I like to add detail to each piece. I treat each order as if it were a piece of art, and I don’t ship an item until it’s completed according to my vision. I love each piece I make and I’m happy my customers do as well. Just knowing that my garland made someone smile or helped brighten their cibicle is pretty great.

What sets me apart? I do it for the love of crafting and I treat it as art. I currently have a full-time job, I recently went back to school and I have my online business. So I don’t have much time to craft like I used to. Now, each order that I get, I focus all of my energy on it and give it detail. Also, when I first started, Etsy didn’t have many Latinx vendors as it does today. I was one of a handful. As soon as I listed my items they were selling out almost daily.

What were you like growing up?
I was very shy, creative, artistic and outdoorsy. Aside from sewing, I always wanted to be writer. I used to publish poetry online when I was about 12 years old and kept many diaries. I, fortunately, grew up during a time when technology was limited and most of my childhood was spend outdoors. I used to climb trees, rollerblade around my neighborhood and hang out with my brothers. I spent almost every summer in Mexico visiting family and traveling.

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