Lydia Guajardo Rickard was already a successful businesswoman when her imagination led her to a completely different business, quite by accident, by the way. In 2017, Rickard was sitting on a beach thinking of ways to repurpose Mexican dresses to highlight the artistry of the hand embroidery. She later purchased a dress from a shop in San Antonio and chopped it up to create accessory items and Que Chula, meaning “how cute”, was born. “I wanted to create a business that would bring me joy and celebrate my culture,” says Rickard. She uses the hashtag #amano, which means “by hand” in her marketing and promotional efforts. Rickard begins with embroideries from Mexican women. “I feel like it is transferred to me— a Mexican American woman, to finish. It is a true work from our hands. I feel like it is a true ‘passing of the baton’”. Culturally, this is how she celebrates the art and traditions of her heritage. Some of the embroidery patterns have been passed down through generations for hundreds of years.
Rickard, who did not think herself the creative or artistic type, finds working with her hands is extremely enjoyable. Working with textiles of all types and creating products without a set pattern means that each design is original and totally unique in addition to being personally rewarding. She began selling her items on her personal Facebook page, never expecting that sales would take off so quickly, so much so, there is now a separate Facebook page for Que Chula. She aligned herself with other “makers” and groups to help with the business. Her background in marketing and ownership of LCOMM Marketing, which she has owned for 15 years, give her inside knowledge on how to use imagery and social media to move product and help messaging. “People are looking for unique gifts”, says Rickard. There is a whole market of people who don’t want “made in China”, they want something original. Her products fulfill that desire in people. She is the sole creator of the handbags she sells, but commissions other products from workshops in Mexico that she sells in her shops.
Rickard started this business with a small investment and because she was selling her merchandise on Facebook, she was able to save money which she then invested in her first storefront. She currently has set up shop at 2 cooperative locations, reinvesting profits into growing and supporting the business. In addition to retail sales, Rickard also has a wholesale division, which she says was a big gamble, but one that has paid off.
“Owning my own businesses is in my blood”, says Rickard. She uses her business knowledge and savvy in her marketing firm, LComm and allows her artistic, creative side to manifest in Que Chula. Rickard explains the benefits of business ownership like this: “While there are downs, the ups are so much more rewarding”.
Her newest venture makes use of not just her creative talent, but those of others as well. “There are artisans all over who have made a living being creative and working with their hands. It is a gift, so use it”, says Rickard.
Online or in person, visit Que Chula to make a purchase:
The Market at Ridglea, 3400 Bernie Anderson Avenue, Fort Worth, TX 76116
The Market at Roanoke, 304 N Oak Street, Roanoke, TX 76262