15 Years in America
Galy Montes came to the United States almost 15 years ago for a new life, but what she didn’t know was that she’d be helping other women just like her. In 2021, Montes took her love of social media and created the Facebook page Mecadera Market where Wisconsin Latinx women can connect with vendors alike, while also finding resources they may not usually find on their own.
The page stands as a safe place for all Latinx women, especially for those who may be undocumented or uneducated. The group supports one another and all posts are in Spanish. In Spanish, Mercadera stands for “female merchant.”
A Vessel for Latinx Women
With the help of her friend Nataly Andrade, the Mercadera Market has grown into a real-life market for Latinx women vendors to sell their products and grow their brands in Wisconsin.
“La misión de Mercadera es unir a mujeres emprendedoras a una comunidad donde puedan vender, promover, comprar e informar a los demás sobre sus productos y servicios. Lo que pedimos de la comunidad es por reconocimiento del trabajo arduo que estas mujeres ponen para ayudar a su economía crecer e impulsar a otros a crecer su autoestima.”– Galy Montes
Translation: “The mission of Mercadera is bringing women entrepreneurs together as a community to sell, promote, buy, and inform others about their products and services. What we ask from our community is for acknowledgment of the hard work these women are putting to help their economy grow and impulse others build self-esteem and confidence.”
Last year the market had 34 vendors which has grown into over 55 vendors. The vendors are a wide range from art to clothing to food, and more.
The goal of Mercadera Market is to change the narrative of Latinx women. Montes and Andrade want the world to know that Latinx women are way more than just stay-at-home moms.
“Es bien conocido que las latinas somos personas trabajadoras y que nos impulsamos hacia el éxito. Pero una comunidad que une latinas y las ayuda a crecer es exactamente lo que es Mercadera,” said Andrade. “Mercadera es el espacio donde alentamos el apoyo, la motivación, la educación y el crecimiento.”
Translation: “It is well-known Latinas are hard-working people, they strive for success. But a community that brings Latinas together to build each other is what Mercadera is all about,” said Andrade. “Mercadera is the space where we encourage support, motivation, education, and growth.”
The two wanted to provide a space for vendors since they knew that having an actual space wasn’t always an option. These markets stand as a space for growth and empowerment for Latinx women.
“Ha sido uno de los proyectos de vida más gratificantes para nosotras. En un honor tener a una comunidad que confía en nosotras,” said Montes and Andrade. “Todos los que están tratando de alcanzar un proyecto y crecer, necesitan a esa persona que las impulse a subir un escalón. No importa que tan grande o pequeño sea el escalón, nosotros definitivamente somos esas personas para nuestra comunidad de Mercadera.”
Translation: “It has been one of the most rewarding projects of our lives. It is an honor to have a community that trusts us,” said Montes and Andrade. “Everyone that is trying to pursue a project and grow, needs a person next to them that impulses them to go a step up. No matter how big or small that step is, we are definitely that person for our Mercadera community. “
Nyesha Stone founded Carvd N Stone in 2017 to cover positive news while attending the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Stone has a B.A. in Journalism. She has raised over $30,000 to award grants and scholarships. She has also been featured in ESSENCE and worked with the American Black Film Festival.