Spicy By Design: Local Entrepreneur Makes Culturally Relatable Apparel, Sells Internationally

By J. Edward Moreno
The Monitor, McAllen, Texas

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Entrepreneur Sandra Villarreal is the creator behind online boutique “Salsa For President.” Villarreal makes quirky apparel with simple designs which she advertises on Instagram.

The Monitor, McAllen, Texas

Sandra Villarreal, 32, points to a map in her studio of the United States and Mexico with a few European countries drawn in at her McAllen home. The shaded areas represent places she’s shipped shirts, handbags and caps purchased from her online store.

The Monterrey-native’s brand, Salsa For President, makes quirky apparel with designs as simple as the word “Barbacoa,” or as aggressive as phrases like “No estes chingando.”

Verbiage taps the Tex-Mex zeitgeist, often inspired by experiences and anecdotes Rio Grande Valley residents might sympathize with.

“This is where I spend most of my life,” Villarreal said, outside her studio. “I really love the fact that I’m doing this from here (the Valley).”

Despite this, most of her customers aren’t local. Currently, her biggest markets are in California, Illinois, New York and in larger cities in Texas. She’s also sent items to France and the United Kingdom.

“Sometimes, I check my phone and I’m tagged somewhere where I’ve never been, but now (I’ve) been, kind of,” she said. “It’s really (expletive) cool.”

Her website boasts images of models wearing her attire, and each item is made per order.

One week she could have a dozen orders, and in the next have over 100.

“I’m taking a break right now,” Villarreal said.

Though, a “break” to her is just abstaining from posting on Instagram for a few days. She still had eight orders to get done.

Her last break was interrupted by an Instagram post by Jessica Pimentel where she’s wearing Villarreal’s “Pinches Haters” shirt. When celebrities tag her on posts, it usually spurs a wave of orders, Villarreal said.

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