We had the good fortune of connecting with Cynthia Magallanes and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cynthia, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
As a survivor of sexual exploitation I wanted to do something to provide other survivors with services to help them heal. I quickly realized that services were not available because funding was low. As a solution, I created a way where the community could get involved and survivors would get funding and services that were desperately needed. In 2013 I launched Free Ever After Bridal Boutique. A resale bridal boutique providing sustainable luxury for brides while providing immediate funding for Masterpiece Mentorship Program a local nonprofit providing resources and mentoring services to survivors. I believe this has been the most important factor of our success because people want tangible ways to combat horrors happening in our communities and meanwhile we are able to give beautiful brides the opportunity to find their ideal dress while making a difference in other women’s lives.
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?
Our bridal boutique is not your ordinary bridal shop. While you may find dresses that many other boutique’s offer, what sets us apart is our mission. From its foundation, Free Ever After Bridal Boutique’s mission has been to become a steady flow of income for nonprofits providing services to survivors of sex trafficking. Our model allows us to engage the community with tangible efforts to make a difference and give our lovely brides an unforgettable dress buying experience. How does this work? Well, to start we are a resale bridal boutique and the majority of our dresses have been donated by community members that support our mission and efforts. Dresses are donated to our partnered nonprofit, Masterpiece Mentorship whom we (FEABB) purchase the dresses from, providing them with immediate funding while building our inventory and giving brides updated fabulous dress options. At the end of every month, we donate a portion of our profits back to the non-profit. We pride ourselves with the experience we give each of our brides. They get to have a high-end boutique experience without the high-end price tag and the cherry on top is contributing to the restoration of the lives of survivors. It has been by far the hardest endeavour I’ve ever embarked on. It has had major lows but we’ve also had the most amazing highs that make this journey worth it. Seeing the response of our community has encouraged us to continue moving forward and growing stronger. My heart is to inspire other survivors to know that they are more than their trauma story, there is beauty out of those ashes. My life and business are a testimony to that.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
I love food, especially Mexican food. Growing up in NM and moving here to AZ has opened opportunity for us to taste the Sonoran flavor. So the first place I take my family or friends from out of town is Güero Canelo. Their Sonoran-style hotdogs are a must when visiting Tucson. Another of my favorite places is Gate’s Pass at sunset. It is the perfect area to watch the sunset and see the beauty of the desert in all its glory. A hike up Madera Canyon is beautiful, especially right after the winter snow has melted and the creek is flowing with water. Other restaurants I always make sure they don’t miss is Carnitas La Yoca. OMG, be prepared for the best carnitas tacos you have ever tasted!! They’re that good, especially with those freshy homemade corn tortillas. YUM! I will finish the mexican food tour with dessert from La Michoacana Ice Cream on 6th and Ajo. Their ice cream is creamy and delicious but they also have great spicy and salty options for every taste. To finish the trip, I love bringing friends to buy AZ souvenirs from one of my favorite local shops, Why I Love Where I Live. It’s the perfect place to buy a gift that will always remind you of our beautiful desert.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
In all honesty I would not be as successful as I am today without my husband’s (Alex Magallanes) support. While I poured my heart, passion and time to this vision, Alex worked tirelessly to provide for our family. He held me up when I felt weak and wanted to quit. He’s been my anchor throughout this process. I’m a visionary and free spirited risk taker and sometimes that gets me in trouble because I don’t pay attention to details or plan things out like I should. Alex is a compass for me. He keeps me grounded and brings clarity to details I may miss along the journey. While I’m chasing my dream, he holds the fort. He encourages and prays for me. I would not be where I am today without his wisdom and support.
Quilted Hearts Photography by Heather Jefferson
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