We had the good fortune of connecting with Zaira Carlos Pelayo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Zaira, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
Pelayo’s Art and Folk was built on the idea of promoting handmade slow fashion. A style of fashion intended to be worn time after time. We honor our Mexican culture, talent and creations by curating handcrafts made by indigenous artisans in different parts of Mexico and designing pieces ourselves inspired by our roots.
What should our readers know about your business?
Pelayo’s (short for Pelayo’s Art & Folk) was inspired by my family’s artistic talent and appreciation for our Mexican culture, but it was created on a whim. Nothing was planned out when we started. I learned about pop-up shows through my best friend who at the time was participating at a local festival in 2018 to sell her jewelry- DJBkco. I had no idea about the work selling at festivals entailed and the importance of having a pre-established business. I thought it would be a good place to help sell my aunt’s paintings and a few other items for extra cash. With the help of my mom, we showcased an eclectic collection of handmade goods including my aunts’ paintings, crocheted bags, Mexican folk dresses and other handcrafted clothing items my mom had collected over the years. At the end of the show, we didn’t sell enough to make our booth fee and it was a quite a disorganized show for us. The main theme of our “business” however, revolved around handmade folk art made by us and artisans from Mexico. After that experience, I noticed the value gap placed on handmade goods. We live in a society that follows name brands, fast fashion and normalizes buying items to quickly discard them immediately after the trend ends or once we get tired of them. From this awareness, Pelayo’s Art and Folk emerged.
Pelayo’s Art & Folk represents a business that support Mexican culture through handmade crafts with a focus in fashion. It represents ART, CULTURE, and TALENT through our handmade crafts as well as folk art from other artisans. We create staple items meant to be kept season after season or be given to a special someone that will get the most use out of it to later be passed again.
My biggest inspiration is my mom, Maria Luisa Pelayo (AKA: Ma-Lu) and all the indigenous communities whose income depends on their handmade talent. My mom is a self-taught seamstress that started at the age of 14 to help pay for her schooling in Mexico. She currently earns a living by making alternations from home. Inside Pelayo’s, Ma-Lu plays a major role as our exclusive designer-maker who understands the importance of making quality items. I think what sets us apart from the rest are our unique “one-of-a-kind” designs. We value quality, uniqueness and elegance and we try to represent that in every staple item we make as we represent our culture. I think we have come a long way from where we started. We currently have been blessed with the opportunity to showcase our work in downtown Brenham at the Yellow Truck Market. It has not been easy working on my business while working full time, but I enjoy the freedom of working on something for myself that gets to positively impact others.
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?
Brenham is a small and quaint town, but it has a lot of charm specially in the downtown area. If you’re looking for a good restaurant with food for everyone, 30 North Gastropub is the way to go. In the mornings, they offer custom made breakfast tacos and serve the best expresso coffee in town. For lunch, you can get finger licking artisan made pizza, paninis, wings, and house made curly fries made with top quality ingredients and they have a full bar inside. For dinner, 96 West is the best restaurant in town that offers fine dining and quality service. They have a top selection of wine and offer an eclectic mix of premium house made food. Their menu includes a mix of Asian, Latin, Italian and American house made dishes that pair perfectly with their signature cocktails or wine. Of course, you cannot leave town until you try Blue Bell’s ice-cream parlor where you will find their top selling ice-creams flavors as well as seasonal features.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Before I recognize anyone in particular, I want to give the credit to all the Mexican artisans, craftsmen and craftswomen that have made it possible for us to grow Pelayo’s Art and Folk. I could not have developed our personal collection however, without the support of the two ladies that supported our growth from the beginning. The first shout out goes to my mom, Maria Luisa Pelayo. She is the designer-maker of our Pelayo’s handmade fashion collection.
The second shoutout goes to my aunt, Socorro Pelayo AKA Aunt Coco. She is a talented artist and Art teacher in Guadalajara, Jalisco (our hometown). She specializes in working with oil paint and creating self-portraits but is well versed in a range of other techniques. Socorro Pelayo is the designer and maker behind our hand-painted pieces including shoes, hats, purses, pillows and shawls. In addition to her creative craftsmanship, she helps me with handpicking some of our merchandise directly from Mexico.
Thirdly, I would like to thank Tami Redshaw and Edward Smith Jr. They are my former employers (owners of 96 West and 30 North Gastropub), but also dear friends who have supported and encouraged me along the way. I would not have applied to the Yellow Truck Market in Brenham, Texas if Tami had not encouraged me to consider this opportunity. Both have constantly provided their support. Thanks to Tiffany Morisak, owner of the Yellow Truck Market and all the city staff in charge of the retail incubator that opened its doors to the public in October 2021. It has allowed small businesses including ourselves to get a taste of retail and has provided a physical location for people to find us. I also want to thank Tricia Legg with Company five for her constant help and support inside the program. Tricia and the rest of the company owners have enlightened me along the way. Lastly, I want to thank all my friends, family and loyal customers who have been there to support our journey and who continue to be there for us.
Sweet Color Photography