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Conversations with Alina Rose Mendoza

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alina Rose Mendoza.

Hi Alina Rose, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
Of course, thank you! I love sharing more about my story and how that’s led me to become who I am today and starting a business selling vintage Moroccan rugs. This part of my journey began in 2016 when I decided to quit my ten-year career in real estate to pursue my other passions of traveling and photography. I wanted to experience more of the world with my camera by my side and immerse myself in a place long enough to really get to know the culture and the people in it, and on a deeper level, I wanted to create massive change in my life. I quit my job (with plenty of advance notice and the support of my boss!), sold most of my belongings, put a few things in storage and moved out of my apartment. My first destination, as I’m sure you can guess, was Morocco with just one suitcase and a camera backpack. Before arriving in Morocco, I felt so many emotions, a mixture of fear, doubt, exhaustion but all coupled with adrenaline, excitement, and gratitude. Upon my arrival, I had a few pivotal moments that have now put everything into perspective for me; I experienced a sense of peace wash over me as I was welcomed into a courtyard with the scent of orange blossom filling the air and a feeling of home while watching the sunrise across the Sahara Desert. I have now come to recognize that feeling of peace and home at the moments in my life when I’m most true to myself and the gifts and talents I have to offer in this life.

From that life-changing decision, I connected with new friends on that trip that have since opened my world to other opportunities and introduced me to other people that have now led me to sell rugs! There’s a lot to tell about the years following, but in 2018, I started working at my real estate job again, took on a greater role in the company and moved into a small studio that became a home of my own for the first time in my life. In my studio, I learned different ways to create and discovered my love for vintage furniture, rearranging and creating a space that reminded me of my travels and mostly Morocco. When COVID hit and with the fear of a potential recession in the real estate market affecting my job security, I felt the need to downsize my life again. I had acquired beautiful and treasured pieces for my home, including Moroccan rugs, blankets, and poufs from my trip there in December 2019, right before everything changed.

Last summer, I decided to offer my personal and beloved Moroccan home items for sale and see if anything would sell. I staged it in my home, photographed everything, listed it on my website and shortly after sold everything I had for sale. One woman ended up buying multiple items from me and asked if I had any more rugs, I didn’t have more rugs at that time but because of that question, I decided to source a small collection from a random (at the time) contact on Instagram. By the time the rugs were delivered to me a few months later, the real estate market was back in full swing and I spent the next two months slowly getting to know and enjoying these new arrivals in my home. In December, a friend invited me to a market, Mojave Flea in Palm Springs, and she said, “you should share a booth with me and bring your rugs”.

In January, I debuted my collection of vintage Moroccan rug beauties at the Mojave Flea market in Palm Springs, and on that same day, the owners of Mojave Flea invited me to showcase and display the entire collection in their newly opened 10,000 square foot department store of makers and merchants. Since January, that first collection has since sold out, and I traveled back to Morocco in March to visit a dear friend and pick out a beautifully curated collection of vintage rugs from the foothills of the Atlas Mountains and the windy seaside town of Essaouira. Today the new collection is at Mojave Flea Trading Post in Palm Springs, with a small collection at my studio in San Diego. I always want a few pieces in my home to take in the beauty of these rugs, to get lost in the stories woven into them or who may have woven them and remind myself of the time I took a chance on myself to create change in my life and weave a new story for myself.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
This journey hasn’t always been smooth. Taking a risk and creating change rarely is in my experience, but as I’ve continued to take greater chances on myself, I become more confident in the steps that I’m taking. 2016 was a huge year of growth for me but also the scariest when I ran out of money four months later and had to come home from traveling. I felt like a failure for not reaching instant success in anything during those months, and it led to me becoming very confused and doubting the decisions I made; it was a very lonely time filled with a lot of anger and shame towards myself. What I’ve now come to realize is that 2016 is the year I planted a ton of new seeds, and because of those seeds I planted, I fully recognize and have a great appreciation when a new bloom sprouts up. Blooming takes time, patience and care to allow for new growth to appear, and in those moments when a bloom occurs, it all makes sense.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
This question has always been difficult for me because what I do is a long list, and all are important to who I am! I’m a rug seller, traveler, photographer, storyteller, lover of all things vintage… oh and a real estate agent! All of these roles have helped me to tell the story of these rugs, share more about Morocco and the craftsmanship behind these works of art. My real estate experience has given me the foundation to operate a business, my creative roles as a photographer and storyteller have allowed me to share visuals through photo, video and written stories and my travels to Morocco give you a first-hand look at the beautiful land, the culture and the people behind these rugs as they are woven into each one of these rugs through different symbols, patterns and colors. As I continue to grow in this area of my life, so will my time spent in Morocco; I will be learning more, sharing more stories along the way and taking everyone along for the journey!

Are there any books, apps, podcasts, or blogs that help you do your best?
One of my favorite books is ‘You Are a Dream’ by Prof. G. It’s a book filled with exercises and questions that help you create your dream life through actionable items and steps that you identify in order to do so. It requires time to think through and really dive deep into the why of your dream. My favorite part of the book is the visualization portion, and is something I do regularly when I want to accomplish something. Instead of making a to-do list, I visualize the process, how I want that to make me feel and how it will feel once I accomplish said dream.

I also do a lot of journaling and review my writings regularly. It’s a great way for me to track my progress in life, check in on my goals, revisit any creative ideas or express gratitude for everything I have in my life and the dreams I’ve been able to work on making a reality!

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