Vamos Talks with Ameyalli Pintor
Ameyalli Pintor is an LA-based Latina reseller and artist, who you’ll find selling at the Silverlake or the Rose Bowl Flea Markets. Her shop, Vulva Club is constantly filled with vintage and retro goods in all kinds of styles. Next to her garments are handmade trays that can be used as either ashtrays or incense holders, designed with characters that Pintor draws herself. Her best sellers are trays with edgier designs that resemble women’s body parts.
Vamos Foods met up with Ameyalli Pintor to discuss her identity as a Latina and her journey in starting her resale shop. Read our conversation below:
Tell us about yourself, where are you from?
I was born in Mexico City and grew up back and forth between Mexico and here in the states. My entire family is from Mexico and my mother and I immigrated over here permanently when I was around 7-years old.
You mentioned you moved at a young age, was coming to this country an easy experience?
I came here with dual citizenship, which in a way is a lot of privilege that some immigrants don’t have because I could still see my family in Mexico. My mom wanted a better life for herself and she felt her independence would grow best in the US. She really wanted a fresh start with me. Like I had mentioned, my mom and I would visit the US every so often before we permanently moved. She really liked it here so much that it really pushed her to call it home.
What were the struggles you faced growing up as an immigrant?
It wasn’t any easy transition coming here. My mom was a single mother and I remember us moving around a lot, kind of like a couch-to-couch thing. When I first came to this country, I was put in an ESL (English as a Second Language) class. At first, it made sense, but then my English improved and I felt I no longer needed those classes. But I was still kept in those classes, even my teachers questioned why I was not in a regular class but the school refused to move me. I think it had to do a lot with me being bilingual and an immigrant. I picked up English pretty quickly as did my mom, we practically learned together. Oftentimes, people are shocked that I know Spanish because I don’t look Latina.
What made you start going into reselling and how was that experience?
Well, I always really liked thrifting and going to the swap meets in Mexico. My entire family enjoys thrifting and I would even go with my abuela. Plus, being self-employed was something I knew would be the right path for me. My first experience into reselling was at a consignment store and I learned a lot about clothes, pricing, and just the entire business model of reselling things. When I left that job, I decided to get a booth at the Silverlake Flea Market with a friend. We did a lot of research online before taking the leap. It was a bit of a struggle the first time, it was really hot and we had only a few racks. Now, my inventory is a lot bigger and I have a tent, sturdier racks, and decorations. My booth has definitely improved a lot since that first day selling.
How do you navigate the resale industry as a Latina?
I definitely gravitate to other POC and Latinos who are selling. I always like to talk to other Latinos, especially the ones who only speak Spanish because I want them to know they are not alone. Since a lot of people don’t know I am Latina, I have been a witness to a lot of microaggressions and racism done to other Latino people. I feel like I’m in-between two cultures so I find it’s very important to make ties with people on both sides.
We love the designs that you painted on clothes and your handmade ceramic trays, what’s your inspiration?
My inspiration comes from the 70’s flower power movement because I really love the vibrant colors, it’s progressive ideology, and sex positivity. I really want my art to destigmatize everything that society tells us, Womxn, to be ashamed about and I really want women to be the focus of it all.
What are your future plans for your business and how does your identity fit into that?
As a kid, I had to go to LA just to buy things I liked. It was way too far and expensive for me, so I felt left out when it came to the clothing I enjoyed. My next step is to open up a shop in Santa Ana so that fun clothing is easily accessible to the kids who were just like me when I was growing up. I can definitely see Vulva Club with a store front so keep a look out!