Today we’d like to introduce you to Yesenia Valencia.
Yesenia, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was born in Jiquilpan, Michoacan. My parents brought me over to the US when I was about two years old, and I’m the oldest of three. Our story is similar to many other immigrant families. My parents worked hard to build something for our family. They provided us with everything they didn’t have, all while adjusting to an unknown world where others spoke another language. I saw the fire, drive, and determination in their eyes to keep pushing and building a better tomorrow for us. There was a time I was ashamed to talk about being born in Mexico.
At the age of five is when I can remember that my double life started. I was excited like any other child to start school and be with kids my age to play with and learn. I remember the teachers knowing where I was from and English was not my first language. Other kids made fun of me, and I was always reminded that I was different. At times I felt like I was an animal at the zoo and they would all just stare, point and laugh at me. Imagine what this could do to a five years old. My perception of this world was cruel. I grew a thick skin and told my parents that when I grew up, I will be the defender of all of the people that can’t stand up for themselves. I would protect and be their voice.
With the best of both of them, my mom taught me how to be kind and giving to others, especially in their times of need. We jokingly call her the Mother Theresa of our family because she is always putting others before her. She has a heart of gold. My dad is who I absolutely believe that I get most of my characteristics from. He has an amazing creative soul, and is always making something or coming up with the “next big thing.” There was nothing that this man could not make or do. For example, one day I got home from school and my parents were talking about getting a new couch set. I was excited and thought we were going to the store to pick them out. We got in the car and drove to a local fabric & foam store. I was so confused, I thought it was a pit stop I saw my dad excited, walking up and down the isle showing and explaining his ideas to my mom. I realized then we were not going to be buying new couches, we were going to fix them ourselves.
My parents bought all the supplies and started building and transforming those ugly old couches into a beautiful set which they still had until two years ago!. My parents always had creative ideas on how to make something. That creativity and drive to create, whether something existed or not, was instilled in me. I spent the rest of my youth trying various career paths. From studying criminal justice to working in a law firm to working in the corporate world – I was good at working in these fields, but there was something missing in me, and I kept being pulled back to my creative side. I’m now married with two kids and am so grateful to have a supportive husband that encourages me to pursue my dreams. Nothing is to crazy for him now.
Has it been a smooth road?
No, it really hasn’t been smooth. I’ve faced many challenges but one that has stood out has been finding my identity.
At a young age, I was made fun of for being from Mexico. It has been a journey to heal what was instilled at such a young age. Along the way, I have found and connected with other latina’s who have inspired me. They helped me to recognize the beauty in my heritage and I am now proud and accepting of where I came from. I am not scared or ashamed to tell my story. Being the oldest of my siblings and first generation came with so much responsibility. I have often placed unrealistic expectations and pressure to have everything figured out. I felt I needed to lead the way for not only my siblings but my parents. Needless to say, I matured and grew up very early in my childhood.
In 2015, I had a miscarriage at 14 weeks. The grief from this event made me shut down. I wouldn’t go to baby showers, and I couldn’t get myself to be happy for others. I kept wishing that that was my family. Out of nowhere, I got an opportunity to teach and create crafts with children for a local store that had just opened. This position helped me pull myself out of a dark time. This job gave me life. It helped me heal so many open wounds. My love for crafting and the love that these little angels gave me had me returning day in and out. One day as I was talking to my neighbor he asked where I worked at and I told him and I will never forget his response. He said “ wow, you get paid to have fun! Many are not as fortunate to do something like that, so don’t stop.” I felt so much gratitude for being in the space that I was in, I was truly happy.
I had to start healing myself to really dig deep to determine why I felt like I was not worthy of receiving what is divinely mine. I found an amazing group of empowering women. I invested in myself, I read books, went to conferences and started to surround myself be around good positive role models that were all about uplifting and encouraging one another. Slowly, I really started to rewrite my story and I started to really listen to my intuition. That is when everything began to shift because my mentality shifted. I began to feel confident and worthy. That is when I started attracting good friendships and lifestyle.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the SoCalCraftParties story. Tell us more about the business.
After losing my father in law to cancer, my dad being deported, the loss of our 1st home and our first fur baby. I felt so defeated and broken. My only happy outlet was my crafts, events. I started to allow my creative side to flow and slowly it was healing me. And that’s when the magic began. I was discovering and piecing my true self. I felt ready to officially launched my business SoCalCraftParties this past January 2019. Right after this leap of faith, I got an opportunity to host Latinas who Brunch in Riverside to close women’s month. This event assured me that I was making the right decision.
I’ve been Decorating and Event Coordinating for over Ten years.
I currently offer a variety of custom party decorations. Anything from banners, toppers, paper flowers, and recently added donut walls, Backdrop Walls(wood, hedge grass, pallet, drape). I feel like my creativity is really flourishing and know that this is only the beginning. I truly love to connect with my clients know them to really give their decorations that personal touch. My business is growing rapidly but I couldn’t be more excited and accepting. My eagerness to always keep learning and touching up on my techniques is what I know I will assist me in this new journey of entrepreneurship.
How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
My industry is big and high in demand. As long as people keep creating its going to keep evolving. We are always celebrating some big accomplishment or a Birthday.
- Email: email@example.com
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