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Xochitl Villarreal: A Passion for Craftsmanship

June 28, 2018

By Andrea Lopez-Villafaña

Inside a colorful store located in one of San Diego’s most historic neighborhoods, shoppers can find a little piece of Mexico through a collection of handpicked artisan items by Xochitl Villarreal.

As the owner of Casa XoVi, Villarreal aims to provide shoppers with authentic accessories, clothing and decorations from the different places in Mexico she visits while traveling.

“I saw the beautiful crafts that craftsman were making literally on the streets where you can see them, and I said I’d love to bring a little bit of Mexico to the United States because there are many people who can’t go to Mexico,” Villarreal said. “I said I’ll bring them a little bit of our Mexico to San Diego.”

Villarreal recently celebrated the grand opening of Casa Xovi, her little shop in Barrio Logan nestled behind the popular neighborhood coffee shop Por Vida and other stores.

An experienced business woman, Villarreal thought of opening a store because she wanted to sell the jams, salts, mole, and salsas she makes herself, as well as the products she purchases during her travels from places like Chiapas, Guerrero, Guadalajara, and Oaxaca.

“The products I have and the products I make are handmade products with Mexican flavors,” Villarreal said.

Her passion and knowledge of crafts is apparent in the way she speak of the skills, practice and methods used by Mexican artisans when they create the items she sells in her shop.

“I personally prefer handmade embroidery. I think it is something so traditional and rich in culture, something so important and something that fascinates me and captures my attention,” Villarreal said.

She said one of her favorite textile is from Tenango del Valle, Mexico, because it is authentic and it can be found all over the world.

“It is an expensive textile but it is valuable and it doesn’t matter what price you are paying for it because you’re paying for work that takes months or it can takes four or five craftsmen to make,” Villarreal said.

Originally from Baja California, Villarreal had an entrepreneurial spirit from an early age and a passion for creating.

She would watch children from around the neighborhood in Rosarito who would sell food to help their family earn money and the fact that they earned their own money fascinated Villarreal.

Villarreal decided to make jams from a fig tree to sell, but she was not very successful.

Years later, she began making jams with her own recipes and after receiving positive reactions from her classmates in a cooking class, she created her brand Sabor de Antaño.

Because Villarreal had experience and success with startups and leading businesses, the mother of five, decided nothing would stop her from pursuing a business that makes her happy.

A trained pastry chef, Villarreal began by selling her Sabor de Antaño products at special events and two years ago she learned of Barrio Logan when she began selling her products at the flea market.

“That is how the idea of having a business here in Barrio Logan grew because I liked the warmth, quality, and the qualities of the people who live in this community,” Villarreal said.

Her goal is to host events so other people can learn about the community, the other businesses, and the richness of the culture.

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