Preserving Mexican Tradition through Good Business

Nancy Charraga

            Nancy Charraga is passionate about fair trade imports, preserving Mexican traditions, and working with indigenous artisans.  Nancy came to the US from Chiapas, Mexico. It shows in her business, a Mexican folk art store.  She sells folk art, jewelry, clothing, and party decorations. 

            Nancy started selling Casa Bonampak merchandise at street fairs in 1996. Her business evolved into a storefront at 24th and Mission streets, en el Corazon de la Mision (in the heart of the Mission) in San Francisco. She outgrew the space, and moved her business to a bigger space on Valencia Street.  Her clients have ranged from wedding parties to tech startups.  She offers custom orders, retail, wholesale, and online.

            Nancy got help to improve her business through the Women's Initiative for Self Employment, a Women’s Business Center supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration. She started in flea markets but it wasn’t until she went through the training at Women’s Initiative that she developed a business plan and strategy. Like many other trainees in the program, Nancy fit the profile of high potential, low income. True to her mission, she turned Casa Bonampak into a community store dedicated to preserving and promoting Mexican traditions.

            Every year, Nancy does her best business during the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration.  However, year round she caters to the blending of the worlds that is going on in her own neighborhood by offering t-shirts and banners that reference local phenomena with a Latin twist, like a shirt for fans of the Giants reading Dia de los Gigantes.

            Nancy employs dedicated women who are supporting their families. And she’s having a positive impact on the community around her.