Araceli de la Cruz Ruiz

Araceli is the Owner of La Popular Maka Tlan

Araceli is the Owner of La Popular Maka Tlan. Read our interview with Araceli about her experiences with Xcelerate business advising (Food/Bev/CPG Sales, Legal Guidance).

What inspired you to start your own business? 

I was inspired by my Mom. In 2013, I decided to share her delicious recipes. I have almost 11 years experience selling hot food in Farmers Markets in Washington County and Birria Sauce in New Seasons and Market of Choice. In the future, I want to have a commercial kitchen and restaurant.

Early mornings and even late into the night, my siblings and I would follow obediently behind my mother. Steps in unison and hands tightly gripping baskets filled with traditional Mexican food. The smell of tostadas, tacos, and tamales wafting through the streets of Cuautla, Jalisco, a lively town located in the hills of western Mexico.

For as long as I can remember, my mother was seen working hard to support our family of 7. My memories are filled with long days of selling traditional Mexican food to students, neighbors, and anyone enamored by my mother’s cooking. I fondly look back at these times spent with my family. I remember being a young girl in elementary school, with a distaste for numbers, yet being entrusted to collect the money made selling our homemade delicacies. “Try your best,” my Mom would smile. Words of encouragement even when I came home with missing change and disappointment painted across my face.

Through trial and error, I was able to preserve a fierce determination, once sparked by my mother and now maintained by the community around me. 

After years of living in the United States, I chose to continue to build what my mother had instilled in me. With drive and a passion for sharing the most sacred parts of my culture, La Popular was created. Based in Beaverton, Oregon, La Popular has grown to meet others where they're at. With whole ingredients, picked carefully to suit and accommodate a variety of taste buds and dietary restrictions, our food is ready to be enjoyed by all. 

 At its core, La Popular aims to offer community. We extend a hand and welcome you to experience authentic Mexican cuisine through quality-sustainable-fresh ingredients from our local farmers. We hope you tag along on our journey, and continue to help us share and partake in our family tradition.

What are some of your key goals that you worked with Xcelerate on this year? 

Xcelerate supported me with a coach Hannah Kullberg from Community Co-Pack. She helped me get started selling my products in Market of Choice. I also got support from Rational Unicorn Legal Services with contracts with a member in La Popular LLC.

How has your identity as a woman and any and all other intersectional identities impacted your business? 

In our Mexican culture wives are expected to remain in the household and take care of children. The lifestyle continues in some towns and tributes but my Mom was a woman who broke the ancestral rule. She always cared for us and all the family worked and learned together. We had the opportunity to value our parents' work and how it can bring money home. I do similar things with my kids in the Farmers Markets - they love to collaborate with me where we sell Mexican food and packed products. I think it is the right space to be responsible and a good citizen. I am a woman that enjoys sharing the talent of cooking and recipes through delicious dishes of Mexican Culinary Art. 

What were some of the challenges you faced this year and how did working with Xcelerate help you to overcome these challenges? 

I needed help on how to sell my product in Market of Choice and Xcelarate helped me with Coach Hannah from Community Co-Pack. She contacted the right person and now my product is there. I needed a Partnership Operating Agreement and received support from Rational Unicorn Legal Services, Xcelerate helped us cover the payment for legal advice.

Are there any wins or achievements you have celebrated this year while working with Xcelerate? 

Selling our Birria Sauce in Market of Choice. Helping with legal advice.

Is there anything else you'd like to share about your Xcelerate experience? 

It is an organization where I found financial support to cover the expenses of the advisors while continuing to make progress in growing my business from self-employment to a real company.

Follow La Popular Maka Tlan on Instagram:@lapopular_makatlan 

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