Lakshmi is the Hindu goddess of wealth, fortune, power, luxury, beauty, fertility, and auspiciousness. She holds the promise of material fulfillment and contentment. She is described as restless, whimsical yet maternal, with her arms raised to bless.
Lakshmi is also a beauty salon located in Pilsen and owned by Maria Macias. “When I purchased the salon, it came with the name, Maria said; “I did a bit of research on the name, and when I found out its meaning and its significance, I just fell in love with it because I could relate.” She adds, “Lakshmi is the Hindu Goddess of power, resiliency and beauty, yet, she is also loving, caring and maternal.”
Maria immigrated 26 years ago from her native town of El Puesto, Jalisco, Mexico, where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in Technical Agriculture. She added that she never planned to stay or make a life in Chicago. “I came to help my older sister who was pregnant with her first child. I figured once the baby was born, I would go back to pursue my career. It never crossed my mind to stay, get married, have children and start my own business.”
Like many other immigrants, Maria says that her opportunities for a good paying and respectful job were limited because of language and professional challenges. However, she determined never to give up. “In the beginning, it was hard. I felt that my job opportunities were limited because I did not speak English. So, I decided to work hard, eventually acquiring this business, and went back to school to study cosmetology.”
Maria attributes her strength and resilience to her four children; “They are my pride and joy and the motor that keeps me going.” She continues, “I had tried to imprint on them those values that my parents instilled on me when I was growing up. “To be relentless and never to give up; be respectful of others and lend a helping hand when needed; work hard for your goals and not to depend on others; and most importantly, be persistent in fulfilling your dreams.”
She also added that her children were the motivation behind her starting her business “When my children were little, I wanted to make sure that my precious time with them was not limited. Having my own business gave me the flexibility of managing my time between school, extracurricular activities, and work.”
Regarding COVID-19, she explains that when lock-downs were first announced, and restrictions were imposed, this was a time of great personal concern and uncertainty: “As a single mother, I worried about providing for my family because Lakshmi is my main source of income. I was sad to learn that other businesses around me were considering closing. Still, I refused to give up.” she goes on to say that “I was committed to find solutions and continue working hard despite the obstacles posed by the pandemic. I was not ready to give up on my business.
Maria states that the funding she received from ESDC’s Resiliency Grant was part of the answers she was looking for. “The $2500 I received from ESDC was used to pay a month’s rent; It was one last thing I had to worry about.” Adding that, “knowing there are organizations like ESDC to support small businesses give us all a sense of relief. Knowing that ESDC is there to help with advice, grants, and technical assistance is critical, especially during these challenging times. I am grateful to ESDC for their work and commitment to the business community, and I hope that they continue helping others as they have helped me.”
Visit Lakshmi Beauty Salon at 1327 W. 18th Street in Chicago or call (312) 687-0634.