Elisia Cruz is a 17-year-old student, athlete, and most recently — entrepreneur. What originally began as a hobby to keep herself busy during the COVID-19 Pandemic has now turned into her small business ‘Naanaasíchí Beadwork by Elisia.’ Cruz started this business in 2020 during quarantine.
“So actually, it was quarantine, that made me want to start beading because I was bored and stuck at home,” Cruz said. “And I felt like I had gone through all the hobbies, like painting, baking, you know, makeup and stuff—beading was the only thing that I stuck with.”
Cruz had spent time watching her mother, Daisy Bluestar bead and naturally picked up the craft. Bluestar was the first person to post about her daughter’s beadwork on Facebook, where her post gained the attention of dozens who wanted to purchase and support Cruz.
Cruz is entering her senior year at Ignacio High School and is going to play volleyball and basketball. Looking forward to college, she is interested in going out to Arizona or Utah to continue her education. For now, she hopes to find a balance between school, beading, and sports. “I’m busy all the time, between sports and school and a social life — finding the time to bead is so challenging, but when I actually sit down and bead, I feel like I can go on for hours,” Cruz stated.
Not thinking small, she wants her beadwork to be enjoyed worldwide. Although her supporters from local towns are growing, she wants her beadwork to expand and gain the interest of those from out of state even from out of country. “I want more clients, from everywhere, I want to see my work on people all over the world if that’s possible,” Cruz said.
Cruz originally taught herself how to bead by simply watching the hands of her mother and grandmother, but now a little over a year later she has a newfound confidence in her style, technique, and creativity.
“Looking back on my work from when I first started to now is surprising—my beadwork today is quality and features updated designs,” Cruz explained. “I think it’s really cute to see all the women and girls out wearing my work and that makes me feel really, really happy because there’s all these people out there who support me.”
Keeping an updated social media is important to Cruz, she not only shares her crafts, but she gains some of her inspiration from seeing what other beaders create. “There’s a lot of pretty beaders out there—I see them post and it’s nice to see what they create because it’s usually nothing like you see locally,” Cruz said. “I am inspired by others constantly; it pushes me to create.”
Currently Cruz is not accepting custom orders, but she hopes to open them up again soon. To see her work online simply follow her on Instagram at ‘Beadwork by Elisia.’