One of the quieter casualties of COVID was the number of quinceañeras that had to be postponed, canceled or downsized. Quinceañeras take place on a girl’s 15th birthday to mark the transition between girlhood and womanhood, and the celebration is a longstanding tradition for Latinx families.
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Quinceañeras require months — sometimes even years — of planning. The tradition has Mexican roots and was initially a family’s way of announcing their daughter was ready for marriage. But the modern celebration is more about celebrating a milestone birthday.
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As the purpose behind quinceañeras evolves, so do other aspects. Before sisters Gipsy and Gelssy Rodriguez took over their family’s quinceañera dress business in Anaheim, Calif., their parents had no idea how to even digitize their inventory — sales were all recorded with pen and paper.
“One we came in, we were like, ‘No, you have to do everything on computers, everything’s digital [and] everything’s social media,'” Gelssy told In The Know. “[We] definitely took the business to a whole different level.”
Moda 2000 is one of the biggest family-owned quinceañera businesses in the U.S. Initially, Gipsy and Gelssy’s parents opened a clothing store that eventually evolved into selling quinceañera dresses.
“I feel like my parents are the definition of the American dream,” Gelssy added. “They immigrated to America, and they started off with nothing.”
Their parents emigrated from Mexico when their mom was just 16 years old. Re-starting their business to focus on quinceañeras was tough on the family, and eventually, the Rodriguezes moved into the store for a couple of years.
“We had nothing,” Gipsy said. “We moved into the store literally with just a couple of bags.”
“It forced us to be together,” Gelssy said. “It also forced us to realize that my parents can’t handle — like, it can’t just be them two [working at the store]. They need a team.”
The Rodriguez family’s devotion to each other adds a comforting element for their customers, especially since quinceañeras are all about family.
“I think we definitely are making quinceañeras cool and trendy again,” Gipsy said. “TikTok definitely helped.”
“Our first video on TikTok has, like, over 10 million views. And on the first night, we hit 10,000 followers,” Gipsy explained. “A lot of girls come in, and they’re already making their TikTok [and] filming their whole experience.”
While the sisters may have added a modern twist to quinceañera dress shopping, their goals are still intertwined with the original significance of quinceañeras: to celebrate family and culture.
“I think the impact that we’re leaving in the Latinx community is how to stick by your family,” Gelssy said. “[As children of immigrants], we kind of forget where we’re coming from. So I feel like our impact has definitely been to bring back those kids to their roots.”
“It’s really rewarding because, at the end of the day, it’s a family occasion that you’re going to remember for forever,” Gipsy added.
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