Selene Soto Cortez

El Folklor Mexicano

San Diego, California


When Selene Soto Cortez discovered a group in San Diego who practiced traditional Mexican folk dancing, she wanted to connect her children to a part of her experience growing up in Mexico. “I always loved the dances,” Selene says. “When I knew there was a group here where my kids could dance, I got involved. From there grew the desire and enjoyment in continuing this practice.”


Four of Selene’s five children dance regularly, and for the last 10 years Selene has co-owned El Folklor Mexicano with her husband Pablo. Together, they make clothing for folk dancing performance groups in San Diego. “Every Mexican state has at least two different dresses,” Selene says. “The culture is immense, and there is a lot to learn.”


With the help of Accion, Selene and Pablo saw an opportunity to increase production and better manage their operations. They secured a loan to buy a second machine to make more clothing and a computer to better track their invoices and expenses. As they grew closer to their children’s dancing group, many parents reached out to them for more diversity in clothing.

It is satisfying because I am doing what I love.

Now, what many used to cross the border for, Selene can make in San Diego and source to dancing groups across the city. “We help the community because they don’t have to worry about where to find their dresses,” Selene says. “They don’t have to go to Tijuana or outside the U.S. They don’t have to worry about ordering from other places that don’t come back looking good.”


“It is satisfying because I am doing what I love even though it is stressful at times,” Selene says. “But at the end I like it. I am happy when the client is happy.”