When shopping online, international studies senior Yarely Parra makes a point of purchasing jewelry from single mother business owners to support their creative endeavors. Supporting them is something she is passionate about, and she has started purchasing jewelry overseas in bulk and having it shipped to Denton to sell to locals.
Parra’s business is called Bella Bella Artesanías, and the name came from bella meaning “beautiful” and artesanías meaning “artisans” or “craftsmanship” in Spanish.
The Columbian woman Parra buys earrings from has a business with several single moms, and they work together to sell their jewelry to support themselves and their families. The two connected online when Parra was shopping for earrings and came across her shop and her story, and they formed a relationship where they now talk on a regular basis.
“She basically started the business [and] she knows all the girls [who] make the earrings,” Parra said. “It’s all women — most of them are single, and she’s 30. She started it because her sister is a single mother and has three kids, and her youngest boy was born with a disease that’s very rare […] She couldn’t work anymore because she had to take care of [her] baby with disabilities, so that’s why she started it and she wanted to help her.”
Parra had the idea to bring the earrings to sell locally after hearing the stories of the Columbian women and wanting to support their businesses and families.
“I brought some for me, and then I brought extra ones,” Parra said. “My friends liked them, so I sold some of the extras that I had brought because I like her cause and I just wanted to help them. I sold them really [quickly], then one of my friends was like, ‘You should get more. You should make an Instagram.’”
Parra’s business is important to her because she gets to support people in need from different countries around the world to help them put food on their tables, she said.
“I’m not just helping a big company,” Parra said. “I’m helping those single moms, [and] that’s how they make a living. My plan is to get more stuff from other countries around the world, and I’m from Mexico, so I am getting some [from there]. I have brought little earrings that are handmade, too. In the summer, I got matte masks that are embroidered, and they’re from the indigenous people. That’s what I want to bring from other Latin American countries.”
Bringing a customer base to small business owners around the world provides Parra with a platform to bring joy to the customers and creators, she said.
“I’m helping them make a living, and then when I’ve gone to Mexico [in the past], I’ve always liked handmade stuff so I always buy it, and I spend a lot of money over there,” Parra said.
Customers can expect one-of-a-kind items, Parra said.
“The stuff that they get is unique, [and] you don’t see it around too much,” Parra said. “It’s also made with patience, and it doesn’t come out of a machine — people make it with their hands and they take their time.”
Those close to Parra can see her passion for helping others through her business.
“People should support Bella Bella Artesanías because of the overall message it conveys,” said Julia Arredondo, Parra’s friend and international studies and political science senior. “By buying from Bella Bella Artesanías, not only would they be helping single mothers from Colombia, but they would be helping out someone that is paying for her college tuition by herself.”
Parra’s friends said she offers a unique way to support artisans from Latin American countries.
“Whenever she talked to me about this dream of hers, I encouraged her to take the step and make her dreams come true, and as a frequent buyer, all of her products are very special and beautiful since they are all handmade from people such as single mothers in Colombia,” said Nancy Delgadillo Montoya, Parra’s friend and Fort Worth resident. “These products help keep the Latin culture alive by every detail of art that the product contains.”
In the future, Parra plans on growing her business by purchasing more merchandise and expanding into apparel and shoes.
“Really think about where your money is going,” Parra said. “Here, we buy so much crap that we don’t really need, and it’s just making big companies more rich, while on the other hand, you can actually make an impact. To me, it gives me a satisfaction to know that I helped others.”
Featured Image: Senior international studies major Yarely Parra models her earrings in Denton on Oct. 7, 2020. Image by Meredith Holser