WILLIAMSBURG — Belinda De La Garza was searching for the perfect rosary when she was pregnant and was saddened when she couldn’t find what she was looking for.
Wanting to create her vision, the owner of a bead store offered her the opportunity to learn how to make her own, and De La Garza’s new journey began.
“I was looking for a rosary as I was pregnant with my first daughter. She was taking a while to come out, so I started meditating and doing my spiritual thing. I wanted to find a rosary and I couldn’t find one that spoke to me. I wanted to make one, so I went to a bead shop and asked if someone could teach me how to make a rosary. The owner of the store gave me the option of learning the easy way or the hard way. He told me that if I did it the hard way, I’d be able to make any type of jewelry after that lesson,” De La Garza says.
She may have started with making rosaries, but it has quickly evolved into earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and more. Originally drawn to Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream, De La Garza wanted an opportunity to sell her jewelry in the park. After seeing other vendors throughout the park, she inquired.
“I really wanted to do Howl-O-Scream because when I found out about it, I was really into the Day of the Dead jewelry. When we moved to Virginia from Texas, I had a bunch of skulls, roses, and things of that nature. At that time, the park wasn’t doing vendors at Howl-O-Scream, so I went for Christmastown at the start,” De La Garza recalls.
She has since expanded to be a vendor during the Food & Wine Festival, Christmas Town, Howl-O-Scream, and Summer Celebration.
Now with three stores at Busch Gardens — Germany, Italy, and Oktoberfest — as well as an Etsy shop, De La Garza loves sharing moments with her customers. When guests visit her shops, De La Garza is all about giving them an experience and attaching a memory to it.
“What I create and make for people is something that is cherished. I hope that they use it as a memorabilia piece of their visit to the park. Customizing is huge and when you have something made that is specifically made for what you want, people tend to cherish it,” De La Garza said.
She prides herself on having something for everyone. Her shop boasts a children’s section that has gummy bear pendants and funky earrings, while her section for women houses timeless pieces. She even caters to men with chains and pendants.
“There is a huge market at Busch Gardens that I always try to cater to everyone. I want to please and do as well as I can. I have big dreams and big aspirations. I just want to continue to do better and continue to do more with this business,” De La Garza says.
De La Garza’s latest specialty is permanent jewelry. Permanent jewelry is usually made up of a necklace or bracelet that doesn’t have a clasp to remove it. The ends are usually zapped together to create something that cannot ever be taken off.
For De La Garza, the opportunity to create her own business afforded her the chance to be around for her two young daughters, who often can be found in the park while she’s working at one of her shops. She couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
“I’m very artsy to begin with, I went to college at VCU and I’ve always been into fashion. After graduating VCU with my fashion merchandising degree, I stayed in the fashion industry. It’s just really fun to me how all of this came together so late in my life,” De La Garza says.
For more information on De La Garza or her shops, visit RockFlowerstudio.com.