Editor’s note: Best Buy is proud to honor Latinx Heritage Month and celebrate our Latinx employees and communities. Read on for the story of one of our employees.
Philadelphia sales advisor Lily Vega and her sister, Vanessa, were introduced to art at a young age. They would often watch their father draw cars in notebooks, learned of their uncles’ famous sculptures in Ponce, Puerto Rico, and followed along with their aunt’s New York fashion business.
This family legacy led to the sisters’ passion for art and drawing.
In 2015, Lily and Vanessa combined their love for art with their personal discovery of what being Puerto Rican women means to them. That’s when they created their art business, Taina Sisters.
The sisters had felt disconnected from an important part of their identities and wanted to find a way to express their Puerto Rican heritage.
“We didn’t hear about our heritage and culture in school,” Lily says. “We had to find other ways to connect and learn.”
The sisters found ways to immerse themselves in their culture by researching and reading, attending networking events, and connecting with family members.
Their business’ name is inspired by the Indigenous people of the Caribbean, whom their heritage descends from: the Taíno. Lily and Vanessa often incorporate Taíno symbols, native animals and instruments, and the Puerto Rican flag colors into their murals, portraits, earrings and other art pieces.
“It’s about representing who we are as Latinas and Puerto Rican women and showing our pride,” Lily said.
Best Buy support
Taina Sisters has gained recognition in the Philadelphia community, but the support Lily has received from Best Buy is more than she could’ve ever imagined. Lily credits her managers and team as one of the main reasons why she’s been with the company for 15 years.
“The fact that they’ve supported me so heavily with my art is the reason why I continue to work here,” she said.
Not only have Lily’s leaders given her flexibility with her schedule, they’ve called upon her to paint murals in the stores that feature Best Buy and Philadelphia. Her most recent design at Store 589 incorporated Philadelphia staples and their store’s history.
Ted Minda, Lily’s general manager, said he couldn’t be prouder of the finished product and is thrilled to support Lily’s passions and those of other employees.
“It’s what drives them and makes them who they are,” Ted says. “I want them to know that we’re always here to support them outside of work. That’s what matters to me most.”
Using art to inspire, advocate for others
The sisters hope their art helps people feel inspired and included. Someone recently shared with Lily how the Taina Sisters’ artwork helped them relive their childhood and teach their kids about Puerto Rican culture.
“They also wanted to bring their daughter to see our art and show her that she could be a woman and be a successful artist,” Lily said.
Moments like that are one of Vanessa’s favorite parts about running the business. The challenges that come with being an entrepreneur don’t compare to the fulfillment and feelings of joy that comes from creating pieces that inspire others.
“Helping make the world a more positive place and touching people through our passion is the most rewarding feeling of all,” she said.
Lily and Vanessa intend to keep expanding the business and want to use their platform to explore how their culture navigates mental health and wellness. They started sharing their own mental health experiences on Instagram Live and are creating new art centralized around this message.
“We want to advocate for people, especially within the Latino culture, because [mental health] is still taboo to talk about,” Lily said. “We want to open people’s minds and show that you don’t have go through it by yourself.”
Interested in learning more about Taina Sisters? Check them out on Instagram at @tainasisters.