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Rising Stars: Meet Becky Diaz

Today we’d like to introduce you to Becky Diaz.

Becky, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
My fiancé and I started our pottery business on June 27, 2020. My parents have their own small business at the Spring Valley Swapmeet. They sell anything from indoor, outdoor plants to fruit trees and hot peppers. One day jokingly – they told us to start our own business. I immediately thought it was a good idea but, at the same time, though they were crazy. We were in the middle of a pandemic, no funds to start a business and no guidance on how to start. But seeing how my parents started their own business from nothing – I thought, well, we have nothing to lose, and that’s when Raices Artesano was born. That same night we got our seller’s permit, ordered some business cards from Vista Print, and started looking for ways to get Talavera Pottery and clay pottery from Mexico. We wanted our pottery to be unique. We wanted our pottery to be a reflection of us – and that’s the reason why we decided on Talavera pottery.

At the beginning, my dad was able to help us get started selling our pottery at the Spring Valley Swapmeet. Our pottery was a hit – we were surprised at how much we were selling. We had only started with $247 worth of product, and with a small amount of inventory, we had doubled our profit. Months came and COVID was still affecting everybody but, we kept selling. But then we saw a decline in sales. We would go weekends with $10-$25 dollars in profit. Sometimes we wouldn’t even get one sale. It was very discouraging – I thought, maybe this is it. Maybe this isn’t for me. We were very grateful for the opportunity to have been able to sell our product at the swapmeet, but with little to no sales, I knew I had to think outside the box.

That’s when I told my fiancé: we’re not selling at the swapmeet anymore. We’re going to start going to over events every week, and we’re going to start selling on Etsy. I knew it was going to be a lot of work. Especially because I was getting out of my comfort zone and starting all over again. But, I knew this was the only way to keep my business going. And that’s when I started going on Instagram and looking up for pop-ups/events and farmers markets in the area of San Diego. Suddenly, I was overwhelmed with all the events I came across with and that’s when I contacted Walk The Block in Logan Heights. Claudia from Sew Loka – gave us the opportunity to sell at Walk The Block. We did amazing there. The community is what really made us feel whole. Walk The Block is full of other small businesses selling on the strip of Logan Ave.

After having a few successful weekends at Walk The Block we decided to attend other events like El Mercado, IB Artesian Market, Diamond Jim’s, El Callejon, Mujeres Brew House, Eastlake Farmers Market and now SheFest. Aside from selling at these locations, we also started selling our products on Etsy. We wanted other people to have a little piece of Mexico in their home – one flower pot at a time. It took me a lot of research to figure out how Etsy works because I had to weigh, measure, and figure out costs for shipping supplies as well as figure out how much I was going to sell each item. It was stressful because Talavera pottery is made out of ceramic. Shipping out a ceramic flower pot was a scary feeling because on the way to the customer, the flower pot could easily break. We’ve only been selling on Etsy since May, and we’ve had over fifty sales, and we’ve only had three items break. So, it’s definitely a learning experience.

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?
It hasn’t been a smooth road for us because many times we questioned – should we keep going? Is this worth it? We didn’t have money saved up for us to start our small business. We didn’t have a loan or a grant. We’re using money from our regular jobs just to keep our small business afloat. We also didn’t have the space to keep our merchandise. And because we kept growing in inventory, we had to invest on a storage unit which is another bill added to our budget.

This was difficult for us, especially during the weekends when our sales decreased tremendously. Because we knew if we didn’t pay our storage unit – we would lose everything we had worked so hard for. We tried offering our pottery to different nurseries. We offered free catalogs, business cards and our product in consignment but – kept getting told that we would: “get a call back” but never did. We know our product has potential. We just haven’t been given the opportunity to have it displayed at a storefront. Meanwhile, we will continue having our products at local farmers’ markets and pop-ups while working hard to have our own storefront one day.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
Aside from having flower pots, we also have other décor items. Some of our popular items is a hanging sun and hanging moon that goes on the wall also bird baths for any garden. We also have kitchen items like spice jars, coffee mugs, plates, bowls, salt shakers, spoon holders. And for the fur babies, we have dog bowls. But my favorite item would have to be my Talavera coasters!

I’m known for my creative and detailed coasters. Especially the Loteria coasters! People go crazy over those! I have received so many compliments about my coasters that every time I take them to an event, it’s bound to sell out! Being Latina and growing up in a huge Mexican family, you quickly learn that Loteria becomes a part of your lifestyle. Loteria is Mexican bingo – and it brings people together while you drink and eat and enjoy the company of your family and friends.

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