In 2007, local designer Sindy Hernandez opened Queen’s Shoes & More, a small boutique with a mix of her own and other designer clothing and accessories.
Hernandez has gradually gained a loyal customer following. And 15 years later, many of them remain, some become close friends and even models for her annual fashion shows.
“I met some amazing people on this trip,” says Hernandez. “Now it’s a big family.”
Longtime customer Eva Zepeda agrees.
“I started out as his client in the old shop and now we’re really good friends,” says Zepeda. “I’m really happy for her.”
With the anniversary comes the return of Fashion Cares, Hernandez’s annual fundraising show for local organizations. The show will be held on April 30 for the first time since 2019, along with the Shopping for a Cause event on April 29 and 30. In those days, 10% of the store’s sales will support Monarch Services, a nonprofit crisis response offering to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking.
It hasn’t always been an easy journey for Queen’s. In 2017, the store and a number of other small businesses were kicked out of the Crossroads Mall on Main Street for the new Kaiser Permanente offices. Hence, the store was hit by the Covid-19 blockade in 2020.
“Looking back, it’s a bit bittersweet, with everything we’ve been through,” says Hernandez. “The eviction … and the pandemic. At times I have been unsure if we should have closed. But the community came together and that support saved us. We are so grateful.
The pandemic has not only affected Hernandez’s business. The fashion show was canceled in both 2020 and 2021, and Hernandez says he struggled with Covid twice separate.
“I felt so drained, I had nothing else to give,” she says. “I felt like I had lost myself, my passion… everything was gone. I never want to feel like this again. Many women, especially those who are moms, tend to put everyone first. We think we have to ‘do it all’. But I don’t want to work too hard anymore. I went through a great transition during this pandemic ”.
Zepeda says she was “very proud” of Hernandez for reporting the event.
“The show before Covid may have been his last,” says Zepeda. “Bringing him back is a big deal for her.”
Hernandez says Monarch Services is a cause that truly supports.
“I have friends and family who are victims,” he says. “I think we all know someone who is a victim of domestic violence. It is very important to deal with it, especially during Covid “.
Another aspect of fundraising is raising awareness of the services available to the community, he says.
“There are a lot of people who don’t know that there are places like Monarch that can help them,” he says. “A friend of mine went through something like this … I asked her if she knew about the organization. She didn’t. It’s crazy, there are so many that we have here that people just don’t know about.
A new collection from Hernandez’s clothing line, called Sindy, will be presented at Fashion Cares. It is his first new collection since before the pandemic and will include revisited styles from past collections and items he designed years ago but never released.
“I think it’s one of the most rewarding things for me,” he says. “Queen’s is one thing, but with the Sindy collection it’s like my baby. When I see people passing by in my clothes, which I put together … it’s just a different feeling. It’s personal. “
Finding his place as a designer was sometimes difficult, he admitted.
“For a long time I thought, ‘Am I really a designer?’ Because I’m not creating these crazy, avant-garde pieces, ”she says. “But no, that’s what I like about my collection: it’s about simplicity, elegance … I have customers who tell me time after time: ‘I’m still wearing that dress I bought when you first opened it! ‘”
For the first time ever, Fashion Cares will also include a Queen’s Collection, featuring the work of other designers whose work is brought into the store. There will be live music and a food truck owned by a former Queen rep. A gift basket full of items donated by local companies owned by women will be up for grabs.
“It’s going to be a big party,” says Hernandez. “It’s our 15th … our quinceañera!”
Hernandez says she is grateful to everyone who helped her succeed, whether it be shopping, posting about Queen online or volunteering to model or become a makeup artist. She also praised her “women seamstresses, Tere and Laura … because without them, putting this together would not have been possible”.
Queen’s Shoes & More is located at 734 East Lake Ave., Ste. 10. The event will be held at the store on Saturday, April 30th, 5pm. Queensshoes.net.