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By Jamie Stewart
The Shafter Press 

3 sisters focus on creative businesses during pandemic


Last updated 4/16/2021 at 7:35am | View PDF

Jamie Stewart | The Shafter Press

Esmarelda Ceja shows off one of her creations.

The Ceja sisters were determined to make the most out of the pandemic, launching new businesses that not only let them be creative, but bring in some extra income.

Vahira Ceja, who has had experience in the food industry, focused on starting her own business selling fruits and vegetable dishes and displays created from fresh fruit and items she prepares.

The items range from fruit bowls filled with melon, pineapple, strawberries, or whatever fruit she finds during her shopping trips for supplies. She then prepares the displays, adding spices, dips that she creates, and vegetables for sale at local swap meets, farmers markets, and pop-up events occurring throughout the county at different locations and times.

The pop-up events have helped home-based businesses that need a platform to sell their goods and creations.

Vahira Ceja had attended a recent event in Shafter in which she and her two sisters were displaying their respective wares at a large booth, decorated with the results of their hard work.

Vahira Ceja said that it takes her several hours to create the different bowls, trays, and collection of items that she has on display, not including the time it takes to purchase the different supplies and ingredients for the creations.

"I needed to do something when the virus hit, just trying to find a way to keep working," Vahira Ceja stated. "I found this and have really enjoyed doing it," noting that she likes the variety of each event, and working with the different vendors at the events.

Her sister Esmarelda echoed her sentiments, adding that it is great to be able to work together with her family.

"We have different businesses, but we get to share our booth, work together, help each other, and just be together, It is a lot of fun, but a lot of hard work too," said Esmarelda Ceja.

Jamie Stewart | The Shafter Press

Vahira Ceja prepares a fruit bowl with crema at a recent event.

Their other sister is Monserrat Ceja, who owns Blush Boutique. Monserrat Ceja sells clothing and accessories including children and adult clothes that she gets online and in retailers.

Esmarelda Ceja finds shirts, sweatshirts, and bandanas and adds her creative touches to them, turning the items of clothing into tie-dyed masterpieces. Each item is different and she also customizes items for people who want a particular look, in which case she has to have advance notice.

"Most of the things I make ahead of time and bring them to the events," Esmarelda Ceja said.

Customers can also go to her Instagram and request certain items that she can create just for them.

"It takes me all day to prepare a batch of product for an event, getting enough shirts and things ready to sell," commented Esmarelda Ceja.


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