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Pandemic Layoff Proves To Be Blessing In Disguise For Pilsen Pet Fashion Designer

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Almost a year into the pandemic, the domino effect of quarantine continues. It seems businesses are closing left and right, but CBS 2 calculated more than 250 new clothing and shoe shops sprouted after the virus spread. Morning Insider Lauren Victory introduces us to a dog lover who found success when COVID-19 made things "ruff."

Video Transcript

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LAUREN VICTORY: These sly dogs are more than TikTok entertainers. Their customers of Pilsen's pet fashion designer, Cynthia Soto.

CYNTHIA SOTO: I definitely wanted to do a business that I could incorporate my love for animals and that I can spend time with my dogs.

LAUREN VICTORY: Her three little babies often double as her beta testers. Soto started sowing the seeds of her company when the pandemic hit.

CYNTHIA SOTO: We were quarantined. And I was scared. I'm like, I don't know if I'll have a job tomorrow, in a week, in a month. Our little spot--

LAUREN VICTORY: Her backup plan suddenly turned into a full-time gig after she was laid off from her early child education job in June. Her worst fear, a blessing in disguise.

CYNTHIA SOTO: I kind of like started outside of my house. And there's a fence. So I would hang stuff on my fence.

LAUREN VICTORY: The doggy clothes sold out almost immediately.

CYNTHIA SOTO: I was like, oh my god. This could be something that can be, like, big. This can grow. This is actually a thing.

LAUREN VICTORY: Because these handcrafted creations are more than a way to keep furry friends fashionable, many are walking displays of Mexican culture.

CYNTHIA SOTO: The textile is called cumbia. Cumbia is dyed naturally. And it's threaded by hand.

LAUREN VICTORY: The material is sourced straight from Mexico by Soto's best friend and business partner.

CYNTHIA SOTO: She definitely makes it a point to support people in need within Mexico also. So I like it to be, like, full circle.

LAUREN VICTORY: Which brings us to the name of this Chicago venture, Bocha Shop.

CYNTHIA SOTO: Mexicans call other Mexicans bochos or bochas 'cause they're not Mexican enough.

LAUREN VICTORY: But this Mexican-American is proud of Bocha Shop, which will soon be written in big letters at this storefront on the 1900 block of West Cermak.

CYNTHIA SOTO: I wanted to take that word and kind of reclaim it.

LAUREN VICTORY: Blending two cultures while educating others, one outfit at a time. In Pilsen, Lauren Victory, CBS 2 news.