A Southeast Aspect Trainer Began An On-line Store For Balms And Butters. Now She Has A Booming Retail Retailer That Helps Others – Block Membership Chicago

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Toci, La Diosa proprietor Ines Ornelas desires her store for lotion bars, tattoo balms and different bathtub and physique merchandise to function a neighborhood area for Southeast Siders.
EAST SIDE — Ines Ornelas’ journey to opening her Southeast Aspect retailer for bathtub and physique merchandise started with a snowboarding accident.
Ornelas suffered an ACL tear and dislocated knee on a ski journey final yr, a significant setback as she ready for the finally canceled Ironman 70.3 triathlon in Puerto Rico.
In ache and caught at residence, “I began taking part in round with bathtub salts to assist me soothe my muscle tissue, hoping to recuperate faster so I might return in my coaching mode,” Ornelas stated. “From there, I’m like, ‘You recognize what? I can create a enterprise for this.'”
That’s exactly what Ornelas did. Now, Toci, La Diosa — which debuted on Etsy in January 2021 — is celebrating a yr in enterprise with a brand new brick-and-mortar retailer at 3656 E. 106th St.
Named after the Aztec “mom of the gods” and goddess of therapeutic, the shop provides lotion bars ($12), tattoo balms ($12) and different pure physique care merchandise.
A present set that includes a lavender milk bathtub, an exfoliant, bathtub salts, physique butter, a bar of cleaning soap and lip balm ($50) is offered for Valentine’s Day.
Toci, La Diosa’s hours are 3:30-6 p.m. Monday-Tuesday, 3:30-8 p.m. Wednesdays, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Sundays. Proof of vaccination is required for entry.
Toci, La Diosa has a bigger mission than simply racking up gross sales, Ornelas stated. She’s working to develop the store right into a “collective” for Southeast Aspect small enterprise homeowners and creatives.
The East Aspect native credit “networking with lots of different ladies enterprise homeowners” and promoting her items at native farmers markets and pop-up occasions with getting Toci, La Diosa off the bottom.
Understanding the facility of collaboration, Ornelas has organized pop-ups on the retailer each Saturday since opening. 5 native companies are invited per week to arrange tables for a $25 entry payment. The store’s subsequent pop-up is 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday.
“A part of dwelling in the neighborhood helps the neighborhood flourish,” Ornelas stated. “My entire thought is to offer alternatives to East Siders, South Siders [and people from] Hegewisch.”
Ornelas has additionally held two neighborhood artwork contests since beginning the enterprise. The winners’ artworks have been used on the store’s merchandise and merchandise. A 3rd contest is underway.
Toci, La Diosa additionally hosts yoga classes Wednesdays and Sundays, in addition to month-to-month paint nights. Ornelas is contemplating holding open mic performances sooner or later.
“I’m assured that ultimately it’s going to be a secure area for everybody,” Ornelas stated. “I’ve been collaborating with folks [to offer] just a little little bit of one thing for everyone.”
Take into account triathlons, entrepreneurship and neighborhood growth to be Ornelas’ facet hustles. For her day job, she’s a math trainer at Gallistel Language Academy, only a few blocks away from the store.
“I sleep two hours a day — for actual, for actual,” stated Ornelas, including folks regularly ask her the place she attracts vitality from. “I like working with my children, I like math.
“Then after I depart [school], I stroll into [Toci, La Diosa] and see how I can proceed offering to the neighborhood — not as an educator, however in bringing earnings into the neighborhood.”
Ornelas handles practically each function at Toci, La Diosa. She creates the “handcrafted” merchandise with pure elements, “love and element,” she stated. She additionally handles advertising and marketing and delivery, and even transformed the storefront — which beforehand hosted Uncle Paws Grooming Salon — earlier than it opened.
Nonetheless, Ornelas isn’t totally alone in working the store. Her 14-year-old daughter, Sophia, is “an integral a part of the enterprise,” serving to to place objects collectively and makes them “look fairly,” Ornelas stated.
Sophia has “been there since day one, being very understanding of the imaginative and prescient and the dream,” Ornelas stated. “All the pieces I do, I do for her success, for her development.”
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