TIENDIQUE: CUT CRAFT & CULTURE
text MICHELLE PARRA
photography BRIANNA PARRA
In the city of El Centro, lies Tiendique, the perfect destination for treasure hunters. Local residents, along with Tiendique’s owner Liz Rodriguez, have played a major role igniting an artistic and cultural revival. It’s the ideal venue for local artists and musicians to exhibit their work. Beyond the doors of this newly remodeled boutique, visitors will be transported into a place that is eclectic and modern yet still resonates an old world feel. Tiendique specializes in a unique selection of designer resale, vintage clothing, and décor. Rodriguez has spent many years collecting gems from all around the world. These coveted items now lie in Tiendique for anyone seeking rarities.
Where did you get your sense of style?
My interest in hair, vintage, and interior design began around the same time; when I was about 10 years old. I was raised by my very stylish grandmother, Mercedes Robles. Despite a humble background, she was a spectacle! I tagged along to her hair appointments. I was amazed by my grandmother’s stylist, who could quickly and completely change her. I vividly remember her stylist asking me “What do you want to do when you grow up?” I replied, I want to do what you do.
My grandmother also loved thrifting. Not knowing the treasures within a thrift shop, I reluctantly went with her. To fight boredom I explored the racks where I found clothing like no other; bold patterns, bright vivid colors. After that, I was hooked!
What is the story behind Tiendique?
As a teenager, I had a rack full of vintage pieces in the corner of my bedroom. They had been restored, ironed, and carefully hung. It was my personal mini museum. At about 18 my friends asked about the clothing. I told them I was hoping to have my own shop someday and at 19 I opened Deviant’s doors, Imperial Valley’s first vintage clothing store. Despite loving Deviant for several years, I closed it to pursue cosmetology. I moved to Los Angeles to attend Vidal Sassoon, but couldn’t afford it. Luckily, I was instantly hired at the famous Wasteland on Melrose, one of the best vintage clothing stores in L.A. Wasteland expanded my knowledge and eventually I became one of the buyers.
I returned to Imperial Valley and attended the new cosmetology school. The director, Mrs. Soto, had been an educator and platform artist for Matrix. I thought she hated me because she gave me the most challenging tasks. In retrospect, I appreciate how tough she was, because of her I aced all my classes and quickly gained a clientele which followed me to a local salon; where I worked for many years. I loved hairstyling, but I missed the creativity of Deviant, so I left. That was the hardest and scariest thing I have ever done.
I was afraid to start anew, but I didn’t want to live in wonder or regret. With that leap, Tiendique was born. A space for Cut, Craft and Culture — all my passions under one roof.
Where did the name Tiendique come from?
Tiendita+boutique=Tiendique. English and Spanish just like me. I’m from Calexico, a border town in Imperial Valley. Our community and culture is very unique. A Mexico and California blend.
What style defines Tiendique?
Style doesn’t define Tiendique. Tiendique is more than style, it’s a space for appreciating handmade, a space for individualists, a space for those who want to stand out and experiment with style.
What is the most challenging part of working at Tiendique?
Parting with my pieces is always difficult. As I’m prepping a vintage piece to be sold, I appreciate every aspect of it’s design; it hurts me to let it go.
And the best part?
Seeing people come in and leave with positive reactions. Raising someone’s self-esteem with a new look that reflects them confirms that I am exactly where I should be.
What can we expect to find in your store?
You can find unique handcrafted items and artwork from local artists, jewelry from our travels, handmade apothecary items, and one of a kind vintage clothing. You’ll have a very unique experience and have a chance to meet a local artist.
Finally, what’s next for Tiendique?
I’ll follow wherever it takes me! I’ll happily take the opportunities that are given to me, and I will always challenge my creativity. If it’s easy then it’s not worth it. Ha! I invite you to follow me on this creative journey.