The Hustle: Homemade Jewelry, Just to Get By

By Sheila Blandon

Ivet Castro is a 20-year old immigrant Mexican woman living in Oakland with hopes to improve her living circumstances and help her mother at the same time. Castro is fluent in English, and is a waitress at a Chinese restaurant.

She stresses that because she is not an American citizen, her options in the job market are very limited. She is enrolled in a community college close to her home Even though she is not eligible to receive financial aid from her school, that does not discourage Castro from pursuing her dream.

 Castro decided to make her own products and sell them as an alternative to getting a job that requires a social security number or being rejected by  financial aid. Besides school and working as a waitress she makes jewelry and phone cases for individuals. She would like to open up her own business soon.

Castro explained that she would have liked to attend the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco, but because of her citizenship status she was not eligible to receive financial aid “Since I am very limited I can’t really do what I want to do, so I’m at a junior college studying to become a nurse,” Castro said.

Her obsession with fashion started back when she was a child. Today she reminisces about going to Walmart and buying arts and crafts tools and making necklaces for herself. She then noticed that as she practiced she was getting better, and began to read books and really got into it.

Being raised by her single mother pushes her to become someone in life. “My mom is my main motivation,” Castro said. “I just want to make her proud and make her feel like, ‘wow, I did a good job raising her.'”

Castro said she gets real satisfaction from knowing that her jewelry “makes my customers happy and knowing that they are happy with a product I made with my own hands.”

 If you would like to see more of her designs follow the link below.  http://icdesigns.bigcartel.com/

 Oakland: what’s your hustle? Let us know here, on Facebook, or Twitter.

 

 

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