We had the good fortune of connecting with Marisol Rerucha and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Marisol, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
It was freedom that called to me. In June of 2019 I left my career in the educational system to begin full-time consulting. As an educator with over twenty-one years of experience, I was very comfortable with a great salary, amazing benefits and a wonderful network of friendships. In 2017 I started This Chingona Sews, a sewing side-hustle. While developing this business I completed the Sewn Product Business Certificate program at San Diego Continuing Education. My experience as an educational leader along with what I learned in the business program convinced me that I have what it takes to make it on my own. While I loved working with staff and students, the system was very constricting and did not allow me to serve them in the best way possible. So instead of complaining, or being unhappy until retirement, I made the decision to break free of my golden handcuffs. There were many deep discussions with my husband about our finances, and lots of planning. When I was considering the move, I spoke to trusted people in my network who expressed a lot of interest in working with me. These conversations gave me the confidence to make the leap. One of the most important exercises I engaged in was figuring out the values of my services. It was really important for me to identify the numbers that left me feeling respected while honoring those who I chose to work with. I love the organizations and people that I partner with and I love the diversity of my work load. There has never been a happier time in my work life.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My professional life is full and I love it. Since June, I’ve partnered with local, state and national organizations in myriad ways. Here’s a short list of what I’ve been up to: finished a book on restorative practices that will be out by the end of this year (more to come); serve as the chief of partnerships and strategy for the National Parents Union and with whom I host a Facebook Live show; joined a publishing company as the director of culture and community, providing input and training on racism, implicit bias, culturally responsive teaching and learning and restorative practices; and visited Washington, DC to speak to legislators about the needs of immigrants, undocumented students and English Learners. Right now, my sewing business, This Chingona Sews, has been resting.
What I’ve loved about my work, prior to COVID-19, was that I traveled to different cities…trust that I visited a fabric store and art museum in each. I’m looking forward to finishing up a big curriculum project so that I can work on a new design and get my production process back in place. I’m also super excited about renewing the greeting card line I started. This past year has not been easy. But it’s been a true blessing. What I’ve enjoyed is the freedom to partner with people and organizations that are innovators and who are working hard to make a difference for youth and our communities. Looking over my work over the last 11 months is a little overwhelming, but it’s been possible because of a few key learnings and practices. I say no to work that isn’t aligned with my strengths. When I’m with my family I try my hardest to be fully present (put away my phone and focus on our time together). I’ve also been learning to ask for what I need from myself, my partners, and my loved ones. What’s most important to me, is not how others see my brand, but how they see me. I’m authentic, honest, and do what I say I’m going to do. This translates across all of my work.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
I shout these out and encourage others to visit following COVID 19 safety precautions. Chicano Park is not only an important part of Chicano history, but it’s a place with family history. A visit there is a must. The park is home to the largest collection of outdoor murals and is in the national registry of historic places. There’s a picture of my mom boycotting grapes on the side of the Cesar E Chavez Continuing Education parking structure. On the other side of the structure is a photo of a young Ramon “Chunky” Sanchez, Chicano activist and singer. He was also my Godfather. Across the street from the park is the place where my parents brought my older brother and I home after we were each born. There’s even a mural with my name written on it, commemorating the day of my birth. My dad was one of the first artists who worked with others to paint the original murals and created a plan for the Barrio.
One day in Barrio Logan will allow you to fit in visits to Por Vida coffee shop, La Golondrina artist collective, Casa Xovi (amazing store), El Carrito breakfast diner, and Salud tacos. A visit back to Barrio Logan is mandatory on Thursday night for dinner at Ciccia Osteria followed by drinks at Border X brewing and dancing to their Latin Jazz Band. Every month there is an amazing art crawl and market that happens in Logan.
When visitors are coming, I remind them to bring their passport so we can have tacos in Tijuana. If they’re really down, we can take a trip to Rosarito and the Valle de Guadalupe. Both filled with great food and shopping. Valle de Guadalupe is home to the most amazing wineries and restaurants with the most gorgeous views. If my folks are adventurous eaters, we will head out for Japanese food on Convoy, Filipino food in National City, Lebanese food at Alforon on El Cajon Blvd, and vegan food in North Park or Adams Avenue. If they’re ice cream people, I’m ready for them. Neiderfrank’s in National City, Stella Jean’s on Park Blvd. Pappalecco’s gelato on Adams Avenue. So many more… When visiting San Diego, a trip to the beach is a must. Any beach will do.
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?
When it comes to mentors, friends, family and loved ones, I have been blessed. Today I want to share one of my greatest blessings in response to this question. Shelley Burgess, of DBC Consulting Inc., has been my friend, mentor and coach for over twenty-one years. She is an award winning educational leader who eventually became an assistant superintendent (and my boss) then dove into the world of entrepreneurship with her husband Dave Burgess. I knew when we met that she was special and that I wanted to be a part of her life. When we met all those years ago, I didn’t realize that my life would be so deeply impacted and changed by her. She has poured wisdom, love, guidance, humor, adventure and joy into my life. There are few people who I trust to take care of me. Shelley takes care of me. In my joy. In my darkness. In my pain. In my silly. In my insanity. She is there. One of the greatest things that I learned from Shelley, is how to take care of others. This was critical as a school principal and now business owner. She taught me the importance of caring for the adults that are trusted in your care and supervision. She is also teaching me what it truly means to care for yourself…the most important person under your care and supervision. My life is so much richer and full because of our friendship, her guidance and love.
Photo by Elsa Marisol Cortes Steve Kenny Nathan Young Mark De Herrera