We had the good fortune of connecting with Mayra Pineda and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mayra, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Initially I did not plan on having a business per say. My plan was just to make a few bows and sell them here and there with friends and family. After a while decided to start a Facebook group and see how that would go. I figured I would sell to a few more people but I never imagined I would have return customers. Much less, customers asking for custom orders. Before I knew it my small group grew to over 700 members and orders started rolling in. That was when I decided to get my business permit and start a legitimate business. Even though my group is a good size, it is the same customers to continue to support me through this journey and I am very grateful for them.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
At Ellie’s Bows & Beyond we offer hand made bows, head wraps, t-shirts, cups and more. I started my shop right before my daughter Ellie turned one in March of 2019. She was my fist girl after having four boys so I wanted all the bows. Unfortunately all the shops I followed were too pricey. So I decided to make my own and I offered them on Facebook for a lesser price than the market around me. Before I knew it my small group grew to over 700 members. It hasn’t been easy though. My daughter Ellie was diagnosed with cancer at 3 months old. She received treatment and went into remission in October of 2018. But in February of 2020 she relapsed and this time there was a second tumor. This happened right before our shops one year anniversary. This time around, her treatments had to be done inpatient and our stays were anywhere from one to three weeks. Then COVID hit and my four boys had to be homeschooled, like all the other kids. When you add all that on top of running a shop where everything is handmade things can get a bit out of hand. I have been blessed with very understanding customers. I have had to postpone drops and sales and there would be times when I would go weeks without updating inventory and when I was ready my customers would be waiting for me excited to see what I had been working on. Many times I would take material to our hospital stays to work from there. Several times I would have sales from the hospital as well. There have been many times when I just want to quit because it can be very overwhelming. You begin to second guess yourself when you’re constantly taking long in between sales or when you can’t seem, to get anything right. But each time my customers would cheer me on and I just keep pushing.
Running a small shop from home is not easy. Much less when you offer handmade items. You have to make it work around kids, meals, school, and in our case hospital visits. But it is very rewarding every time I make even one sale. My dreams for my shop are bigger than my office, I know that as long as I have God by my side, the support of my family and my customers I can make it happen. I know that one day my shop will grow enough for a storefront.
What would I want the world to know about my brand and story? I would like them to know that this small shop has survived because I have not given up. Even though I have felt like quitting time and time again, I keep going. I do it for my daughter and my kids. I want them to see that no matter what life brings, if you really want something you just need to work for it. I want people to know this brand was made with them in mind. I wanted to offer a product that offered boutique quality at affordable prices. I want people to know that if I can make this happen in the middle of my daughters battle, they can do anything they set their minds to.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If my friend was visiting I would definitely take her to the Faux Real Trade Days in Liberty. This flea market/farmers market takes place once a month and it’s is filled with many handmade shops as well as farmers shops. For lunch we’d have to go to Texas Road House. It’s without a doubt one of my favorite places to have dinner. Our family loves bowling, we’re no dream team but it’s super fun for us. So we would definitely have to go to a place like Itz or Max Bowl and enjoy some food, drinks and bowling. And we can’t have friends visit and not have a cookout! So definitely before my friend leaves we’ll have to have a cookout with my husband as the chef. We’d make some Mexican fajitas on the grill and enjoy some drink in my back yard. A few other places I would love to take my friend would be the Kemha Boardwalk, ice skating at the Galleria and visit one of the sunflower farms.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
If I had to think of who has kept me going I would have to say it is my loyal customers. My customers have been with me in my highs and my lows. They have pushed me when I think I can’t go on with this dream. Anytime an obstacle comes up they have been more than understanding and cheer me on. There have been times when I basically disappear for a while but when I get back to work they are right there waiting for me to show them what I have been working on.
Facebook: Ellie’s Bows & Beyond