Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

UT student sells handmade jewelry that connects with culture, provides inclusive styles

William Whitworth
Sofia Alejandro, owner of Roses for Sofia wears jewelry she created on Nov. 7, 2023.

Sofia Alejandro Barrios sat at a market in her hometown of McAllen, Texas, selling her handmade bracelets beaded with gold hearts and earrings with purple crystals when a girl approached her table.

“This girl (said) to her boyfriend, ‘Oh my god, this is her. This is the girl who makes the jewelry,’” radio-television-film sophomore Alejandro Barrios said. “I’m so surprised at myself because (my business) has grown a lot, and I don’t know if I expected it to go to this point … I was like, ‘Oh you guys know me.’”

Alejandro Barrios started making jewelry as a child and sold her jewelry during middle school and high school. Although she ended her initial business when the pandemic started, she continued making jewelry and decided to start a new business, Roses for Sofia, during her freshman year of college.

Alejandro Barrios said Mexican culture often inspires her jewelry, such as recent pieces she released that feature the evil eye symbol. She created a post on her business Instagram to explain the evil eye’s significance for many cultures.

“In markets, I would get a lot of stuff like, ‘Oh, that is such a pretty eye,’” Alejandro Barrios said. “It’s not only supposed to be very pretty, but the significance is there and it shouldn’t be ignored.”

Radio-television-film sophomore Kaylyn Caudillo also runs her own small business, selling her clay earrings alongside Alejandro Barrios at markets around Austin.

“I know how dedicated she is to (her business), and she tries to get good quality material to sell to her customers,” Caudillo said. “We are both RTF majors, and I know Sofia works (and) she is on set every weekend. She’s very dedicated to both parties, her small business and school.”

Alejandro Barrios said she applied her RTF skills for a photo shoot last semester with models of all genders wearing her jewelry, hoping to highlight that her jewelry is inclusive for everyone.

“As much as I love sticking to minimalist, crystal jewelry that is more feminine, I also want to branch out to non-feminine jewelry, more masculine jewelry or just in-between,” Alejandro Barrios said. “I want to make sure people know jewelry isn’t only for women (or) only for feminine styles.”

Radio-television-film junior Yatziry Nava modeled for the photo shoot and said she appreciates Alejandro Barrios creating opportunities for other film majors and for people of color.

“It has made working with her much more enticing,” Nava said. “It’s something you want to do because you know she has a vision for it and she has a love for her jewelry business and how it’s presented to her audience.” 

Alejandro Barrios’ father built his own insurance business when he moved to the United States, which she said inspires her to plan for a big future with Roses for Sofia, with hopes of turning it into a boutique someday.

“(A) boutique is probably years from now, after college once I’m more settled down,” Alejandro Barrios said. “But I do know that I have a support system and people who support that idea, so we’ll see how it goes.”

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