Bella Chica is more than an accessories boutique—it’s a breeding ground for entrepreneurs. Opened in the heart of the art district in Pilsen on February 1, the boutique has brought together a group of approximately thirteen designers from all different backgrounds and retail experience to show their work.
From jewelry to paintings to scarves and soaps, owner Anne Marie Garza says she found most of the store’s talent online. “We looked through Craigslist and Etsy,” she says. Posting an open call for designers, Garza says the response was great. “I chose people whose product had a good story.”
Take Yazmine Carbajal, creator of Yazzy Jewels. Featuring stained-glass-looking bracelets and beautiful turquoise and onyx rings, the designer is just 15 years old. Starting her own line at 11, Yazmine makes up in talent what she lacks in age. “I was very, very impressed with her,” Garza says.
Then there’s Rootid—designer Erin Martiney creates her beaded necklaces from actual seeds from all over the world.
Keeping with the feel of the Pilsen community, Garza chose brand Edgy Chola for its religiously infused theme.
“I wanted to give people like myself the opportunity to come together, because not everyone can afford a storefront property,” Garza says. With artists working on straight consignment or hire for rent exchange, she has been able to do just that. Featuring many newcomers to the world of business, Garza has worked with the artists on nearly every front, from marketing to pricing. “We worked together to price items so that they can get some money…and have fun,” she says.
Keeping pieces between $10-$100, Garza says Bella Chica has something for everyone. Vintage collector Jennifer of jenstyle.com has wares for sale, as does Sherry Lou—a local designer who creates paintings of modern-day women and bracelets based on the bestselling Stephanie Meyer’s series, “Twilight.” “It’s a mix of old and new,” Garza says.
With trunk shows for the designers in the works and new talent to scout, Garza’s only just begun. While she says she has been fortunate to meet a great group of designers that have quickly become friends, there’s always room for more. “I’m hoping that Bella Chica can bring more artists in of all kinds,” she says. “[I hope that] we can create a community [where] we can have fun, sell and grow.” (Nicole Briese)
Bella Chica, 1253 West 18th, (312)927-3535.