In a small, comfortable home near downtown Phoenix, colorful characters take shape.
“The process begins when I mold the body of the piece. I do one by one and this way there is never an identical piñata,” said José David Chavarria Jiménez, a piñata maker.
Mundo Piñata has been in business for five years and was born out of necessity.
“In 2010, one of our friends asked my wife for a piñata for a birthday party,” Jiménez said.
And they’ve been making piñatas ever since. It’s painstaking work.
“When there are a lot of orders, I work until midnight or 1 o’clock in the morning,” Mari Ayala Hernández said. “And if the piñata does not look the way it needs to, I take it apart and start again.”
The couple makes five to six piñatas a day. Right now there are requests for presidential candidate Donald Trump, who referred to Mexicans as “rapists” and “drug dealers” during a campaign speech.
“I have been offended, but I can take it out on the piñata. I think we should be smarter and laugh at the comments Trump says,” said Perla Villacruz, a customer.
Animated characters from “Cars,” “Minions” and “Frozen” are in high demand.
On a recent afternoon, an Elsa piñata in a blue and silver dress and several Minions were ready for their parties.
The popularity of piñatas has expanded beyond the Latino community.
“Our customers always want something different. Latinos like our piñatas because they are resistant and in parties they have a lot of fun trying to break them,” Jimenez said. “And the American customer likes them because the details are specific and match their exact requests.”
Word of mouth, social media and staying on top of trends help the family-owned business thrive.
A local from Chandler, among other people, shared his experience in a Yelp review.
“The piñata dude made me the most epic Minecraft piñata for my daughter’s b-day party on very short notice. Reasonably priced. He knows a little English; it helps if you know a little Spanish, but not totally necessary,” Kevin M. posted on Yelp.
The couple’s son and a family friend help take orders in English at Mundo Piñata. The attention to detail has earned the business of many loyal followers.
“It’s like a puzzle. You have to know how to put the pieces together, and they do it really, really well,” said Alexandr Bataz, who translates orders.