9/18/2013 9:27:00 AM Three Women, Three Dreams Paredes navigates life of single mom, runs successful business
Iris Paredes and her daughter Alexsia, who plays trumpet in her school band. Review/
Kathi Sabot Chino Valley Review
Editor's Note: Following is the first in a series of three articles about independent businesswomen in the Chino Valley/Paulden area.
Iris Paredes, 28, came to the United States when she was 14. Paredes, a graduate of Chino Valley High School, lives with her daughter and parents here.
"It was the land of opportunity; that is why my father chose this country," she said. "In Mexico we don't have cheerleading. The first goal that I achieved was becoming a cheerleader at Chino Valley High School."
But her path took an unplanned turn.
"I became pregnant my senior year," Paredes said. "I thought, 'What am I going to do as a single mom?' But I still completed my goal and graduated in 2002. I knew I would have to be a great example for my daughter. I knew I would have to take all the opportunities the United States has available. I would have to learn the language, the culture, and everything I can."
She became interested in health care professions while receiving prenatal care, and obtained certification as a nurse's aide. But pursuing an RN degree would involve working shifts that would interfere with raising her daughter.
"I did some career research, and found out that in eight months I could finish a program in massage therapy, and have my own business, and make my own schedule," she said. "I found a program in Prescott and graduated in 2007."
While working for a chiropractor in Prescott, she began looking for employment closer to home.
"One day I just looked in the newspaper and I saw an advertisement for 'Space available with private entrance,' and I thought, 'I'll call this lady.'"
She went to see the room in Dana's Hair Salon.
"I was very nervous. I was very young and had no experience in business," she said. "I already had a massage table, massage oils, and one set of sheets. That was a Thursday, and I began work on Monday. I kept my waitress job, which paid the rent for the massage business. Now I do 20 massages per week. For advertising, I depend upon word of mouth, because for massage a very good reputation is worth a lot."
Among her friends, Paredes is a trailblazer, choosing to manage her own business rather than work for someone else, sometimes the more difficult road.
"I go home and worry about my business. I wonder what can I do to increase my income?" she said. "I needed more education, in technology, math, English, so I enrolled at Yavapai Community College. I have almost completed my associate degree in business."
"My dream is to open a spa, one that is for rehabilitation, to go back to my town in Sonora, Mexico, and to give back to them everything they gave to me. I plan to do this in four years, and travel back and forth," she said.
Paredes' courage has inspired her daughter.
Ten-year-old Alexsia, a fifth-grader at Heritage Middle School, is the only girl in the band that plays a trumpet. Paredes said some kids teased her, saying "girls don't play trumpet." A teacher once told her she was a good candidate for the flute because she is a quiet, gentle girl.
"The teacher told her, 'The trumpet is for loud people.' Last night she told me, 'Mom, I can prove to everyone that a woman can play the trumpet,'" she said.
"We women have the power now. If we don't want to do something we can say it. Nothing is impossible," Paredes said.