May. 25, 2023 By Anthony Medina
A typical day for Martha Ochoa includes a little bit of everything, from packaging items for her customer orders, manning the helm at her storefront and even hosting Facebook live streams until the late hours of the night.
The meaning behind the name of the 34-year-old’s boutique, Cositas Pequenas, located at 18-17 Putnam Ave. in Ridgewood, encompasses what the store has to offer and how the “little things” are affordable and come in abundance.
“This is the first business I’ve ever had and I’m learning as I go,” Ochoa said. “Ultimately, my main goal is to bring products that are affordable, that help us.”
Ochoa opened her storefront to the public for the first time on Tuesday, May 23, but it certainly wasn’t her first day of business. Ochoa started selling her products online, through Facebook live streams, in May 2020, and managed to gain her own following of devoted customers both locally and nationally.
“This idea started during the pandemic, because as soon as my whole family lost their jobs, I was the only one with a job, so I needed the extra money,” Ochoa said. “That’s when I started selling jewelry.”
Cositas Pequenas offers a full array of products including, fashion accessories, home decor, statues, keychains, clothing, shoes, and as many other items that the community suggests. Ochoa works with members of her family and locally hired employees to continue running the business.
A dedicated self-care product section fills the entirety of the front left wall inside of Ochoa’s store. Handbags made to mimic iconic soda cans covered in rhinestones, earrings and necklaces draped over display stands, and little desk ornaments, are just a few examples of what Ochoa offers.
The Ridgewood native and longtime resident said she grew up in the area and returned home after serving eight years in the Air Force. Ochoa, who joined the Air Force in 2007 when she was 17, said her experience in the military and at a BIOtech firm prior to starting her boutique was how she was able to connect with vendors across the country and overseas.
“I have the fortune of going to meet my vendors, having conversations with them and negotiating. That’s what allows me to bring a variation of products at good prices,” Ochoa said.
Affordability means everything to Ochoa, as someone who experienced times of financial strain herself and understands the struggles that come from longtime residents living in the Ridgewood area.
“There are so many people making minimum wage and just to go spend money on things that are supposedly essentials, but they’re super expensive. To me, being in the retail world and seeing how much a product actually costs, it’s insane,” Ochoa said.
Customers who visit the store could find items at 90% off and some items for free. Ochoa said she puts items out for free depending on quantity and the amount of time items are in stock.
She hopes to continue sharing her affordable products with the public both in-store and online through her live streams. In sharing more about her business, Ochoa hopes to see more longtime business owners in Ridgewood getting the proper recognition and help that they deserve.
Cositas Pequenas is open on Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.