HARKER HEIGHTS, Texas — Jessica Melendez is the owner of Sitos, a small online business in Harker Heights. There, she sells handcrafted décor and accessories -- a business that bloomed from a hobby.
Melendez said she has always been crafty and started making macramé products for herself when she moved to the U.S. from Colombia a few years ago.
“I started with a wall hanging and then I made some plant hangers for my front porch at that time and I remember my friends really loved it,” Melendez said.
It began in 2018 as a side business on Etsy that started off pretty slow, she said.
Then, when she was laid off early 2020 due to the pandemic, she made it her full-time job and started selling on Amazon Handmade as well.
“That’s when I started putting more time into creating more products and listing them,” Melendez said.
Melendez said she’s proud to be a Latina business owner.
“I think representation really matters and so I’m very happy to be featured and to be representing my community and doing what I love to do,” Melendez said.
A lot of followers on social media is great, she said, but it doesn’t always paint a real picture of what it’s like having a small business.
“In our pictures and in our Instagrams, you always see like oh she’s doing great and you’ll think you get like tons of orders every day and in reality, it’s like sometimes there are days when we get no orders at all,” Melendez said.
She wants to remind people how important it is to support small businesses.
Melendez said it’s not always easy, but it’s worth it. She takes a lot of time with every order with the hope her customers feel like they’re receiving a gift.
“It’s handmade, it’s something made by that person and it’s something that you’re not gonna find anywhere else and I think that makes it a lot more special,” Melendez said.