We had the good fortune of connecting with Rocio Rodriguez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rocio, how did you come up with the idea for your business?
I started tie dying over 12 years ago. I remember going to Walmart with my cousin Yami and buying a tie dye kit to repurpose some old t shirts we had. After that it was instant love, I was fascinated with re purposing all of my old tees. Throughout the years I’d make tie dyes and give them away as gifts, I’d see the smiles on my friends faces and even if I was just doing basic spiral tie dyes with tulip kits at the time they’d love them. The reactions and love I would get about the shirts would bring me like an instant sense of comfort and happiness. This is was all pretty early on in my tie dye journey. My family and friends would always encourage me to try and sell my shirts I started to for a little while on my Facebook page and a couple years later Chillonaz was born, 2020 to be exact. “Chillonaz” is a Spanish slang term for Cry Baby’s , what does that have to do with tie dye? Honestly, nothing. It does however have everything to do with me and my tie dye journey. Growing up I was called Chio La Chillona, cause I would cry over everything. Id find out years later in therapy why I was the way I was and that it was okay. With my brand I choose to embrace that to remind myself that I’ve overcome a lot of obstacles in my anxiety/depression and tie dying was the start of that for me. It has helped me cope, taught me patience, and gave me the courage to start my small tie dye business.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I wouldn’t say starting Chillonaz was difficult, I thought to myself if my mom had the courage to start her own business in this country then what am I so scared of? Of course, owning a restaurant and tie dying are not the same things but she always taught me that if I love something, I shouldn’t fear sharing it with the world. It took several pep talks from my boyfriend and sisters to convince me but once I created the page the ideas juts came flowing in. I’m most proud of how much I’ve improved in my work that’s what gave me the ultimate confidence and courage to start selling clothes. I love it when someone gives me a compliment on something I’m wearing and I can say “thank you I dyed it myself”. I bought my first pack of real procion dyes last year when I first started Chillonaz. It was a BIG difference from the regular powder dyes I would get at Walmart or Michaels, also a longer process. This dye was way better quality but also took twice the work as regular tie dye kits. It made me appreciate it a lot more because each piece really takes me hours to create. Sometimes I would just create pieces from ideas that would come to me during my tie dye sessions but there’s nothing like planning a shirt out and executing it. I’ve learned from being at different pop ups and launching clothes on my Instagram that sometimes you’ll sell 20 pieces other times you won’t and that’s ok, each piece has its home and eventually it’ll find it. The last pop up I did at Bien Vegano Market, check them out if you haven’t, I sold one of my older pieces and I think I was probably happier than my customer that they loved the piece they were purchasing. It was a pair of jeans I dyed last year, and I was just beyond happy it found its new home and could be styled in so many ways. I really hope if you have purchased anything from me you can feel the love and time that was put into the piece.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
One of my favorite things about Atlanta is there’s always something to do. First thing I’d do is take them to have brunch, probably at Sister Louisa’s Church, its personally one of my favorites. I’d love it if it was a market weekend where I could take them to one of the many markets I have vended at. So many different small businesses to support and so many different things to eat. I’d take them on a picnic to piedmont park, one of my favorite things to do, just a way to relax and enjoy each other’s company. Take a walk on the belt line one day and make our way to ponce. I’d also check and see when La Choloteca is having one of their events we’d go there and have a fun night out. I’d probably also take her to the Jackson street bridge just to get that must have Atlanta skyline shot.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My tie dye journey has been filled with nothing but love and support. My entire family and my boyfriend have been behind me and creating with me every step of the way. From modeling different clothing pieces, helping me come up with my brand name, creating content, giving me constant shout outs and always purchasing pieces, I wouldn’t know what I’d do without their support. My mom wears a different tie dye almost every day and I know it’s because she knows how much I love tie dying and love to see her wearing my clothes. I watched her work hard for us growing up and I know it wasn’t easy for her but seeing her do what she loves made me want to do the same. I also have such loyal and consistent customers and without them there would be no Chillonaz, a lot of them send me different tie dye videos and ideas of stuff they want me to come out with and I appreciate so much that they always think of me for their tie dye needs and ideas. I’ve done several different pop ups but my first one was at Mystic District Market place and I’m forever grateful to them for that first opportunity. I wish I could name everyone that has helped me along the away because I really am super grateful, but I do want to name my two cousins, who I consider my sisters cause that’s how we grew up, Ivonne with VeganXatl and Georgia with Gadelicias, Check them out. Last but not least, thank you to my boyfriend Chris for the constant support , ideas and for always encouraging me to do and be better.