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Meet Yajahira and Atziri Peña of Adelitas Apparel in West Los Angeles

Today we’d like to introduce you to Yajahira and Atziri Peña.

Yajahira and Atziri, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My sister and I come from a family of hard-working immigrants. Similar to our parents, we have yearned to have our own business. When my sister and I were ages 12 and 16, we told our dad that we wanted to start our own business. One day he came home from work and handed both of us fifty dollars. He told us that it was for us to start our own business.

Atziri used her money to sell band shirts, and Yajahira used her money to sell vintage clothing. When we were on vacations, we would join our parents to sell our clothes at various different swap meets. We both loved selling clothes, but we wanted to start selling clothes that we designed ourselves. With this idea in mind, we used the revenue from our individual business and invested it in Adelitas Apparel.

The brand that we decided to start had to be a brand that was able to not only represent us, but it had to represent our culture. When choosing the name, we decided on naming ourselves Adelitas because it represented our Mexican background while including our matriarchal upbringing. We grew up living in a household of eight: our mom, dad, brother, two of our dad’s sisters, and his mom.

Having so many women around allowed us to become independent and not follow the traditional roles and expectations that society sets upon women.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Starting a business was not much of a struggle for us. Growing up we used to help both parents in their business, and it became part of our identity. Our dad started his own upholstery business at the age of fifteen when his father passed away making him feel the need to work for his mother and help bring money home.

Our mom used to sell all types of products including Avon and is still currently selling at her own store. Having supporting parents made making this dream possible for us, but there are still obstacles that we do encounter. One obstacle that we encountered was being able to make our shirts and have the ability to sell them at the price that we sell them.

We envisioned a brand that sold shirts that expressed the political views and resilience of the community without overpricing the items. One of the main challenges is being able to find the time to design, ship, and promote our apparel while staying on top of our school and work.

Adelitas Apparel – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
What makes us different is that we are two sisters who run the business. This includes designing, promoting, and shipping. We are a brand that represents the intersectional identities of individuals. Our goals is to encourage others to stand up for their rights and be resilient through their existence. We are proud of being a family business.

There is this idea that when families do business together it is a clear sign of failure, and we have proved that to be wrong. We loved being able to work together and have family wear our own apparel such as having our grandma be our model.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Our proudest moment so far has to be when we were honored with the opportunity to get involved in Quince Night. Quince Night is an event in Los Angeles where artist, musicians, and organizations come together to raise funds to donate to organizations that help the community.

These organizations include CARECEN, Peace over Violence, and Let’s Give. Our second proudest moment was when Sandra Cisneros reposted a picture of our grandma wearing our shirts.

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1 Comment

  1. Laura Dillon

    December 21, 2018 at 06:11

    Congratulations on your success, my Tia Emília looks awesome in your shirts so does my aunt. Wishing for much more.

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