UW-Parkside Profile: Maria Orozco Gamez – Mariposa Mexican Jewelry
SOMERS, Wis. - After a trip to Michoacán, Mexico in 2019, Maria Orozco Gamez business idea came about as she wanted to share her culture with others and to help them experience her birthplace. She brought back some jewelry and wanted to share it with the Racine and Kenosha Communities. When the pandemic hit in 2020, Maria started creating her own polymer pieces as she had always had an interest to create with her own hands and now, she had the opportunity to do that. Maria created Mariposa Mexican Jewelry and it is now one of the ways she keeps her mental health in check. She continues to pursue her passion because it is a way to keep her mind balance and help her community simultaneously.
Maria is majoring in Psychology, and my minor is in Philosophy. She graduates from UW-Parkside in Fall 2021.
1. How has your education at UWP helped you in creating/promoting your business?
I have expanded my understanding of mental health through the psychology courses I have taken at Parkside. I personally experience depression and I have used my knowledge to design pieces and packaging that will uplift my supporters. It is important for me to communicate to my supporters that I am interested in their wellbeing. Through my platform, I promote good mental health tips that I have learned from my courses at Parkside and years of therapy. Taking other courses like English 168, has helped me with promoting my business. During that course, I learned about proper email etiquette and how to write using ethos, logos, and pathos.
2. Who has been your biggest inspiration through this journey?
Being my authentic self has inspired me and helped me through my healing journey. I am inspired by tragedies that have occurred in my environment or in my life. I use my downfalls to motivate me to promote peace and healing. I have come across many stories of people my age who have given up on their battle with depression. I am taking their stories to inspire me to be unapologetically myself and to no longer stop myself from talking about things that matter. For me, at the moment the most important topics to talk about are mental health, suicide, and sexual abuse.
3. Can you talk about what the butterfly means to you?
I always tell people that I identify as a butterfly as a butterfly represents hope, a journey, and bravery. The butterfly goes through changes and it travels a long distance to survive. Like the butterfly, I am also going through changes and I have to travel within myself to survive. I’m healing from years of damage due to my childhood sexual abuse. Every day, I have to think about my internal self to make sure that I am able to be here and help the world the way that I want to. In Spanish “butterfly” is translated to “mariposa.” My name has deep roots in my family because it has been passed down for three generations. My name, Maria, is in the word mariposa, so my name is Maria and I am a Mariposa.
4. What is something exciting that is coming up in the future for your business/any collaborations?
I am planning to continue the “Esperanza Collection,” which is my collaboration with Esperanza Coffee Collective. Owner Sergio Molina ’14 is on a journey to serve his family’s coffee beans from their farm in Guatemala. He has two pop-up locations, one in Racine and the other in Kenosha. My collaboration with him consists of two pairs of earrings. The first pair, I designed coffee beans from his family’s farm with the words “hope,” “love,” or “amor” on them. The second pair are clay earrings that I hand-painted. The proceeds from the Esperanza Collection will go to multiple local organizations in the Racine community. On my return from Mexico, we will be working to creating funds for the Racine Interfaith Coalition. They promote social justice in the Racine community through faith and empowerment. They are currently working on fighting for Undocumented Wisconsinites to have access to driver’s licenses.
If you are interested in following Maria’s creating and healing journey, please follow her on Facebook and Instagram at Mariposa Mexican Jewelry and on TikTok as Mariamariposamj. For more information on orders, please send Maria a private message on any account.
Communications and Media Relations Specialist