We had the good fortune of connecting with Minnie Cruz and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Minnie, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Honestly in the very beginning I just started making earrings for myself with no focus in business whatsoever. I wanted to do something to keep me busy during quarantine. I’ve always considered myself an artistic person and have always had a love and passion for anything art related from a small age. I started seeing clay earrings pop up a lot on my Instagram feed. So that gave me the idea to start making the earrings to sell.
Coincidentally at the same time I received a scholarship for the Self-Made program which is a program geared towards helping women start up their own businesses. So that helped me out so much to proceed with my earring idea. I’m glad I decided to just go with it, that led me to where I am now.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
So although there are a lot of other artists that make polymer clay earrings as well. I feel like what sets me apart is that I try to base my designs on the southwest. Wether it’s inspired by the landscape, the colors or the architecture. I love going on hikes and I feel like just being out in nature gives me all kinds of inspiration for my jewelry. Although, there are other artists similar to what I do there is no one out there doing what I’m doing. That’s a lesson I learned early on that even though there are people doing the same thing you alone make it different just by making it your own.
I didn’t know anything about running a business before this but thanks to a lot of classes, reading; talking to people and the internet I’ve learned so much. I’m proud of where I’ve come and even though I know I have a long way to go I’m confident that I will continue to learn and grow.
I want people to assimilate Desert Dwelling Darling with modern boho desert jewelry. Even though I’ve only been making earrings at the moment I do want to expand into other accessories and possibly home decor in the future. So stay tuned for that.

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?
So first I’d tell them to come in early spring or my favorite the fall/winter time to fully enjoy what Phoenix has to offer. I’d start by taking them to one of the National Parks in our state the Grand Canyon. They could do some hiking and just letting them see and take in the beauty of the canyons. Then, we’d travel down to Flagstaff which depending on the time of year you can go skiing or snowboarding or if you go when there isn’t snow you can take the ski lift up to the top of the mountain and it’s just a relaxing experience.
After we’d walk around Flagstaff’s downtown area where there’s a lot of places to grab something to eat, drink or have a sweet treat or go shopping at the little shops they have there. One of my go to spots when I’m there is a Thai place called Pato’s I haven’t had anything there I didn’t like and the Thai tea is always a must have. There’s also a place called Sunset Crater which is an inactive volcano. It’s nice to walk around and read the history behind it.
Next, we’d go to my favorite spot in Arizona: SEDONA!! I love spending time there my dad used to take us to the cabin there since I was little and I never get tired of it. There’s so many places to go hiking and get in touch with nature. I also like walking the downtown area there’s so much to see and do. Personally I like going into the shops, and as you’re walking down the street you can smell the aroma of the popcorn, the homemade fudge and that sweet vanilla smell of the homemade waffle cones for their ice cream.
After we’d head into the city of Scottsdale where you can go to different museums, relax and get a massage at a resort, enjoy fine dining and do some serious shopping at the Scottsdale Quarter, the Kierland Commons, Fashion Square Mall and so many places more.
Lastly, we’d go and check out downtown Phoenix go to the many coffee shops they have, find eclectic little boutiques to shop in. Depending on the season we could check out a Diamondbacks or a Suns game. If it’s first Friday I’d recommend checking out the food trucks and grabbing a bite to eat . Personally I like to see the architecture of the buildings, the different murals around town and landscapes and photographing them.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
First, and foremost I would love to dedicate my first shoutout to my #1 supporter my husband. I couldn’t of done it without his help. He has never discouraged me from doing what I wanted to do. He always goes with whatever idea I throw at him, and he has helped me to fund this business venture by myself which I really appreciate. Secondly, I would like to say thank you to the ladies from the Self-Made program: Brit Morin & Anjelika Temple. They helped me so much on my journey to start up this little business. They are so knowledgeable and encouraging. Alongside them all the ladies I met in the program that I’m still in contact with they do nothing but send positive vibes & comments your way.
Lastly, I really want to shout out Hannah from Gather PHX for giving me a start up business an opportunity to sell in her shop. This has helped me so much to meet other people and small business owners. It’s a great little community that I feel happy to be a part of.

Website: https://ratooning.com/store/desert-dwelling-darling/

Instagram: @desert_dwelling_darling

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutArizona is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.