We had the good fortune of connecting with Leticia Barrios and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Leticia, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I started Ixchel Market in early 2021, right as we were all coming off pandemic shut downs and everything was opening back up. I had lost my job due to the pandemic and was kind of in that space many of us found ourselves in of not really knowing what to do next. I have always dabbled in retail, vintage reselling, and the fashion industry so starting a retail based business felt second nature to me. In this venture however, and after having a few big life shifts in the years before launching, I wanted to be really intentional and make sure that this wasn’t just a means to end for me but something that also had meaning. I wanted to feel more connected to my Guatemalan roots and represent Guatemalan and other indigenous craft through the my lens; as an immigrant, Guatemalan woman. I also really wanted to use this business as a way to amplify BIPOC creators. I myself am not great at “making” but I have skills and talent in curating and merchandising that have served as the platform to showcase the talented vendors I work with. Additionally, it was very important to me to promote sustainability and conscious consumerism by integrating vintage and items either made with eco conscious practices, or items of value not seen as single use.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I think what sets me apart is how intentional I am with my business. I am meticulous about working with people and carrying products that align with the values of my brand; culture, sustainability, and community. I’m really proud of being able to educate people about the products I carry while celebrating the rich history and culture that a lot of them hold. It’s always especially moving when I am able to bring a piece of “home” to someone who cannot travel to their homeland and to create a space in which people feel seen and celebrated. Houston has a wonderful market scene and I threw myself into it, trying different markets, and demographics. Ive found that the vendor community is an incredibly supportive space where we all genuinely want to see the other succeed. It’s been a lot of sweat, sometimes blood and tears, but its always worth it. I feel like I am still very much in the infancy of this business but I have laid a strong foundation for what’s next! Whether it’s at outdoor market pop ups, moving into the e-commerce space, or brick and mortar pop ups, I have learned that being authentic, and staying true to my values is what makes people connect with my brand and with me. With every interaction I have with someone, whether it’s in person or online, I would like people to feel confident in knowing more about how to be conscious consumers, proud about supporting artisanship, and most importantly, that they feel included and seen.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My itinerary for a friend visiting would include Monday steak night at Henderson & Kane, Lotería at Tikila’s on Tuesday, Jazz night at Axelrad on Wednesday, hit up the museums on Thursday, happy hour at Uchi on Friday, hit up the flea markets for some authentic Mexican street food on Saturday followed by a sunset picnic at Eleanor Tinsley park, pizza at Gypsy Poet, and a night out dancing wherever DJ Rosez or DJ Dayta are playing…Sunday brunch in Chinatown for dim sum, then walk the Menil Collection, spend time at Menil park and finish the week off with cocktails at Trash Panda.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to dedicate my shoutout to indigenous people, specifically those that I work with as vendors. They don’t have the privilege of being able to travel to share their talents but sharing their craft was the main motivation behind starting this business and I just have to give them the biggest shoutout as they’ve fought and continue fighting against so much to keep their traditions and culture thriving; their resistance is a huge source of inspiration for me!