Cultural Crafts Celebrate Culture 


By Christina Fernández-Morrow, Hola Iowa

Gabriela Ordaz Garcia, owner of Santa Fe Variedades sells traditional folk crafts by Mexican artists. “There were no places that sold varieties of artisan Mexican clothing in Iowa. Many people who have Mexican-themed parties need to travel to other states to get what I sell. I bring a little of our Mexican culture to Iowa and demonstrate the immense talent of Mexican artisans.”

Tell us about some challenges you faced opening your business.


One of the biggest challenges I faced was opening my business two months before the start of COVID. I had to close the doors of the store for a few months. I felt the need to look for other ways to support my business. I started making live videos on Facebook and showing the store’s products. That helped me sustain my business and become known in Iowa and other states. Thanks to the support I have received from the community and from many people in other states I have been able to sustain my Mexican crafts business for four years. 

What do you like most about being an entrepreneur?

My favorite part of being an entrepreneur is the freedom and flexibility that owning your own business offers. I feel proud of everything I achieved these four years along with the support of my parents, grandparents, brothers, and uncles. I am proud to show my parents that all the sacrifice in immigrating to another country was worth it since they have always told me that it is not better than working for yourself. Another very important reason that makes me proud is knowing that I have financially helped Mexican artisans who make clothing, huaraches, and accessories 100% made by their hands.


How has your culture helped you in your business?

My biggest advantages are being able to communicate in two languages and offering my products to Hispanic and American people. This has opened opportunities for me at Hispanic and American festivals to exhibit my products and explain the origin of each item in English or Spanish. Another advantage of our culture is that we have it in our blood to want to improve ourselves and get ahead.


What advice would you give another Latina who wants to open her own business?

You will encounter many obstacles but don’t give up. Anything is possible as long as you do it with love, work hard, and stay humble. Don’t be discouraged when strangers support you more than friends or family. All the effort will be worth it so feel proud of yourself when you see everything you have achieved.


JEFAS Magazine is a collaboration of writers, photographers, social media managers, editors, translators, and designers from across Illinois, Iowa and the Midwest – all of whom are Latinx. It is the first magazine created by the Latinx community, for the Latinx community that focuses on how they are boosting the economy, giving back, and filling the gap between what is needed and what is available in the state. 

To see the locations where you can find the magazine visit @JEFASMagazine on Instagram and TikTok

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