We had the good fortune of connecting with Estefany Gallego and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Estefany, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
I was born and raised in Tucson, AZ and would travel to Magdalena, Sonora any chance I got. It was always a given that I would spend my summers there running in the milpas, swimming in the rio, or in my Nanabuelas warm kitchen drinking some tecito. During my time here, I saw my Abuelos and Tios all work the family business of agriculture. Watching their hard work and dedication ignited a desire in me to become a successful business owner. My parents were always working and each juggled two jobs at one point. Watching their struggle to make ends meet made me realize that there had to be something more out there. After my own experiences of working in the legal field, I realized that I wanted more flexibility once I became a Mother. I circled back and reflected on my family, their agricultural business, my parents strong work ethic, and knew it was my time to take the leap and launch Velitas. I also realized that entrepreneurship courses my veins and I will keep pushing to make my family proud.
What should our readers know about your business?
Velitas is a small batch candle company located in Tucson, Arizona. All of the candles and wax melts are made using natural soy wax and pure cotton wicks. I wanted to create a product that honored my Latinx culture and that’s when I decided to make the Velitas using bilingual themed names and taglines. The journey of owning and running a business has not been easy. As a woman business owner, I have faced internal and external barriers that led me to struggle with confidence and self image. Despite this, I still continue on the path of pushing through the obstacles and adversities. There has been a significant increase in women opening businesses and I am proud to be part of that increase!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If my best friend was visiting the area I would definitely take them to the following places: Calle Cafe, for an amazing cup of cafecito! Their iced cafe horchata is one of my favorites! Galeria Mitotera, is a must stop spot to check out the art work and gift shop. They carry products made by local artists and makers. For a yummy, authentic Mexican dinner, check out El Chinito Gordo. I recommend their green chile chicken enchiladas and micheladas! Hotel McCoy, for a nice relaxing stay and enjoy their locally sourced products! Barrio Books is also located inside Hotel McCoy which showcases literature by various Latinx Authors. Bodhi Blanco Massage, to indulge in a much needed relaxing massage by Tania! Greentoes, is an eco-friendly nail salon and nail technician Araceli Gallego always does a phenomenal job! Don’t forget to continue the pampering with an oxygen infusion facial to nourish and hydrate your skin by Real Beauty LLC. For some outdoor fun, head to 7 Falls for a wonderful hike with beautiful views. Continue the outdoor fun by visiting Flowers & Bullets, a farm in Barrio Centro that promotes traditional and sustainable agriculture as a way to encourage community health. Be sure to request a tour from Alfonso Chavez or Jacob Robles.
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?
Running a small business has been a journey! I often find myself feeling lost, defeated, or overwhelmed but then I remember the amount of support I am surrounded by. My family and friends have had a significant role in motivating and encouraging me. My cousin Alexis is a Certified Vet Tech and Mother, but somehow manages to find the time to help me push through orders, scheduling, and organization! She has helped make my ever changing work process easier to handle. My friend Czarina is a full time Cyber Security Analyst and Mother, but also seems to find the time to help me plan, brainstorm, and provide insight for Velitas growth. Their dedication is unmatched and I appreciate them so much! The encouraging response from my community has been so positive that I am constantly grateful! Galeria Mitotera in Tucson is an amazing art studio and gift shop that hosts various pop-up shops in town. Their passionate work in the community and the support they have for artists and makers is inspiring! I thank them for their help and for always making me feel welcome!
Acantay Christian Visuals / @acantaychristian.visuals