Our Artisans

Our artisan partners are the core of our business. Meet the makers behind the magic.

Andrea

Mandarina by Dre

Meet Andrea, the beautiful face and designer behind the amazing jewelry line, Mandarina by Dre. From Guatemala City, Andrea studied to be an architect and had a side hobby of making jewelry. While interning in Architecture in Totonicapán, Andrea made and sold jewelry at the artisan market on the weekends. She began to connect with local artisans and learn their trades. She was inspired to someday work with artisans in all different regions of Guatemala. 

Since, she decided to pursue jewelry making full time. All of her pieces are inspired by different aspects of Guatemalan life, culture, and connecting to the Earth and universe. She works with and supports local artisans by sourcing materials from cities including Antigua, Sololá, Quiché, Huehuetenango Department, Guatemala City and others. The materials she uses range from the textiles of the traditional Guatemalan womens’ dress, organic cotton, different metals, clay, and beading. We’re excited to begin this new adventure with you starting in Guatemala! Stay tuned for the specific pieces we’ll have available and the inspiration behind each piece from Mandarina by Dre

In her interview, she shares that Mandarina is a creative studio that creates jewelry and handcrafted products made in Guatemala by hand. Their inspiration is everything that Guatemala represents, from the traditional textiles, its people, the landscapes, to the Mayan worldview including all the magic that it encompasses. One of their missions is to be able to merge their designs with the designs of artisans who are knowledgeable of ancestral techniques. One of their goals for 2021 is to be able to reach more artisans and create more experiences together so that they can continue to grow the Mandarina brand. She would also like to thank everyone for their support of their designs!

Lucía

Corazón de Volcán

Meet Lucía! The beautiful face and designer behind Corazón de Volcán. Native to Guatemala, she is an artist, a creative person, a lover, and a defender of her cultural heritage. She is an archaeologist by vocation and a visual artist since birth, also an insistent traveler. 

Corazón de Volcán started from a ritual. Lucía’s early passion for embroidery; the ritual inherited from the hands of Guatemalan women, who, stitch by stitch, embroider their shared memories; has always been the impulse of Corazón de Volcán. This tradition, which gradually changed over the years, bears a mystical symbolism in each figure, design, and color.

The greatest inspiration behind Corazón de Volcán is the country of Guatemala itself. 34 volcanoes in one small portion of the continent, they are all directly connected with the heart of the earth. The land is alive and breathes without pause. Each piece is hand embroidered by indigenous female weavers from the Lake Atitlán region, who get the opportunity to work from home at their own pace while they help support their families.

In her interview she explains how Corazón de Volcán is a Guatemalan Artisan brand. Her biggest inspiration is to connect to the roots of Guatemalans, Mesoamericans, and the incredible artisan traditions of Guatemala. She solely works with indigenous artisan women from Lake Atitlán who help produce her products. Lucía creates the designs and in developing Corazón de Volcán (meaning heart of the volcano), she wanted a way to bring her artwork into products. She does this by mixing her designs with traditional, ancestral Gautemalan techniques used to make textiles, belts, embroidery, and artisanal fabrics of traditional Mayans.

Her goals for 2021 are to be powerful in creating designs that are loaded with content that carry the vibration of people and to connect them with positive energy. During these difficult times in the world, it is clear that everyone does everything they can to have good energy. So for Lucía, it is important to be able to create designs that seek emotions that are filled with good energy and to maintain her relationships to continue working with the incredible indigenous artisan women from Lake Atitlán. Lake Atitlán is a magical place from where she wants her products to travel the world and fill everyone’s hearts with the spirit of Corazón de Volcán. With Inspire Me Latin America, we hope to continue to help share the vision and Corazón de Volcán’s products across the U.S.

Inés

Mereketé

Meet Inés! The beautiful face and designer behind the jewelry brand, Mereketé. Inés is a fashion designer turned teacher. She currently freelances for the Guatemalan men’s brand, Emporium, where she previously worked full-time. She also teaches fashion design at the only University in Guatemala that offers Fashion design as a degree! Mereketé was a project that her and fashion designer friend started between jobs. They wanted to bring affordable and unique, one-of-a-kind designs to women. 

Their mission, handmade for women by women. When they were unable to find the products, they wanted to use to make jewelry, they decided to make their own. Mereketé only employs women artisans from Guatemala City to rural communities near the department of Chimaltenango. The materials purchased to create their jewelry, inspires the designs. Their focus is now turning towards sustainability and using only sustainable materials.

Claudia

Amun Handmade Designs

Meet Claudia, the beautiful face and designer behind Amun Handmade Designs. Claudia was raised in Southern Chile, the region where German and Croatian immigrants settled. After meeting her Guatemalan husband and living together in Chile for several years, they made the decision to move to Guatemala. Claudia had studied public relations and had a business importing wine from Chile for several years before becoming a stay-at-home Mom.

Ready to reinvent herself and pursue her passions, Claudia created Amun Handmade Designs. “Amun” meaning “to move forward” in the indigenous language of the Mapuche people of Chile. She originally started with some aromatherapies, aromatherapy pillows, and oils to help her daughter with allergies. She then expanded to creating gorgeous tapestries using a mix of macrame and weaving techniques using Chilean inspired wool. She also designs tapestries in the character of the huipil textiles of Guatemala inspired by the Mayan culture.

Blending different Latin cultural inspirations, Claudia makes beautiful designs with weaving and macrame. She will be collaborating with us to design macrame jewelry and other products specifically for our Inspire Me Latin America community! Be on the lookout for exclusive designs you won’t find anywhere else!

In her interview, she explains how her studio is dedicated to making decorative pieces using macrame and loom techniques. Not only tapestries or wall murals, but they also have a line of artisan jewelry, lamps, cushions, and other accessories that can give a different touch to any space in your house or your home. The materials they mainly use are cotton rope, wool, and other natural fibers.

In the five years since starting her business, Claudia has focused on supporting different entrepreneurs and local producers of the materials she uses in her products and designs. One of the most important things in her work is the idea of ​​creating and designing unique and exclusive pieces based on the clients’ requests. From time to time they have products in stock but mainly their objective is to make personalized pieces.

For 2021, they have many projects lined up, one of them is to launch a virtual store where customers will be able to buy and see objects. The online store will include products that are not only decorative but also works of art with different techniques beyond macrame and loom work. They also want to incorporate different elements this year such as ceramic, wood, and clay that are all produced locally. Together with inspire me Latin America they have created a collection of jewelry and hope to introduce new jewelry designs that are more contemporary and current using fiber materials that differ from what they have used previously.

Cristina

Zila

Meet Cristina! The beautiful face and designer behind the jewelry brand, Zila. Cristina always had a desire to give back and help women in rural areas of Guatemala. She was taking a class in International Commercialism where she was introduced to connect with women from the northern department of Quiché. This led to the creation of Zila in 2016, whose mission is to create sustainable employment opportunities to empower women artisans in rural communities of Guatemala. Zila is derived from the Mayan word “zil” which means gift. 

“We believe the power of words and positive energy, that’s why our pieces carry an inspirational message.” Each piece of jewelry is made using only high-quality materials and each bracelet is handcrafted by these artisan women in Quiché. The hope is to inspire and empower women all over the world, so we can all have a better future.

You can directly support and empower these women artisans too, we have custom Zila bracelets featured in our collections! Not to mention with each purchase you’ll get a Zila gift bag, which are made from upcycled denim by The New Denim Project in Guatemala!

In her interview, she explains how the company was founded in 2016 on a mission to empower Guatemalan women. She teaches artisan women different techniques to be able to make different women’s accessories, such as bracelets, necklaces, rings, and earrings. Zila’s objective is to provide Guatemalan women an opportunity to be trained in a sustainable job that provides them with a fair salary that not only supports them but helps to lift up the entire community through their work. One of Zila’s goals this year is to produce different products and accessories, primarily for women, that carries a message of female empowerment and if women are happy, the truth is power. They are also looking forward to continuing collaborating with Inspire Me Latin America to be able to connect to different parts of the world such as the US in order to grow their client base and knowledge about Zila, their mission, and have access to their beautiful products!

In the five years since starting her business, Claudia has focused on supporting different entrepreneurs and local producers of the materials she uses in her products and designs. One of the most important things in her work is the idea of ​​creating and designing unique and exclusive pieces based on the clients’ requests. From time to time they have products in stock but mainly their objective is to make personalized pieces.

For 2021, they have many projects lined up, one of them is to launch a virtual store where customers will be able to buy and see objects. The online store will include products that are not only decorative but also works of art with different techniques beyond macrame and loom work. They also want to incorporate different elements this year such as ceramic, wood, and clay that are all produced locally. Together with inspire me Latin America they have created a collection of jewelry and hope to introduce new jewelry designs that are more contemporary and current using fiber materials that differ from what they have used previously.

Jessica

Jessica Velasco Designs

Meet Jessica, the beautiful face and designer of Jessica Velasco Designs. Originally from Malacatan, San Marcos in Guatemala, she now lives in Quito, Ecuador. She studied science and agriculture in Honduras and received her Master’s in Animal Science and Human Resources from the University of Illinois in Chicago! 

Wanting to spend more time at home with kids, Jessica turned to fashion. Always having a passion to support artisans and their families, she chose to work with artisan crafted textiles from different regions of Guatemala, Ecuador and even Mexico! Using textiles in her fashion designs, specifically from Guatemala, allow her to teach people about her culture and country through fashion. All of the textiles are transformed into bags and apparel, while still maintaining their original character. Your purchase of Jessica Velasco Designs products directly supports the indigenous artisan families that create the hand-woven textiles.

Artesanías Chinimaya

The Artisanías Chinimaya is a Women’s Cooperative located in San Juan la Laguna, Sololá, Guatemala. We are so excited to partner with them, to help support and empower these women while sharing their heritage and gorgeous work! The cooperative is made up of a group of 29 women, who make their products from 100% natural cotton. They hand-spin their thread and use different plants, barks, and flowers to dye their thread. All products are made using a backstrap loom. Their mission is to boost the economy of each household of each family and to help provide education to the children in their community to help support the single mothers by providing them opportunities to work with them. All the women in Artesanías Chininaya, are Mayan artisan women who make their products 100% by hand using 100% natural materials. 

Their goal for 2021 is to share their products in an international market! And we couldn’t be more excited to help them achieve that in the US!

Jesús and Thelma

Típicos Vicente

Meet Jesús and his wife Thelma, the power couple behind their shop, Típicos Vicente, located on Santander street in Panajachel, Sololá, Guatemala. Jesús comes from the town of Momostenango in the department of Totonicapán. Thelma is from Panajachel. They met when Jesus saw her on the street one day when she finished her shift, working in a restaurant. Four children later and a successful tienda, their love story continues.

Jesús has worked with textiles and artisan goods for more than 32 years and with the leather trade for eight years. In addition to the high-quality items, they make by hand, including different leather bag products, they collect other products supporting artisans in communities throughout Guatemala! The cotton used for the textiles is from Jesús’ hometown, Momostenango, the bedspreads are from Zacualpa in Quiché, and other products come from Chichicastenango and Women’s Cooperatives of other towns, to name a few. They take pride and enjoy supporting other artisans by sharing their goods and creating products to share their rich culture with people everywhere!

Alfonso

Poncho’s Bags

Meet Alfonso, the founder and original designer behind Poncho’s Bags, located on Santander street in Panajachel, Sololá, Guatemala. Alfonso comes from the town of Momostenango in the department of Totonicapán. At the age of 8, he began to work as a weaver to weave wool ponchos to help his parents, a profession inherited from his grandfather. At 15 he decided to take off to Panajachel to seek better opportunities and where he later met his wife, Linda with whom he now shares 4 children with. 

He became fascinated with the idea of making quality bags and empirically learned the trade and craftsmanship required. He opened “Poncho’s Bags” in 2010, named after the profession of his family where he began making his own bags by sewing leather and Guatemalan textile by hand to create new designs. He now has a workshop where he employs 10 artisans that come from all different regions around Guatemala. Their mission is to offer a wide range of bags with creative and functional designs that are made with quality leather and 100% Guatemalan textiles. They are committed to the social, economic, and human development of people in their community and Guatemala.

Modesta of Utz Kem

Modesta

Utz Kem

Meet Modesta Granados González de Tunche, she’s the beautiful matriarch and founder of Utz Kem!

Born in Santiago, Chile, Modesta came to Guatemala as a toddler at 2 years old. Growing up she was surrounded by weavers, including her mother and grandmother who taught her the trade using a backstop loom. At 15, Modesta married her husband who supported her dream to start her own weaving business at 17 years old. Utz Kem was then founded in 1984, meaning the good fabric in the Mayan language, Kaqchikel. Starting in San Pedro Sacatepéquez, she began selling her products. Later she began working with a few women artisans to help them support themselves, by selling products door to door in Guatemala City. She found this successful but found herself unable to expand her business and support more artisans without a space to formally sell her products. She had the opportunity to connect with INGUAT (the Guatemalan Institute of Tourism) who offered her to rent a space in the Artisan’s Market (better know as the Mercado de Artesanos) in the city. In 2000, she opened her doors to her new tienda in the market and has since grown the business to support 69 artisans from 13 different regions from every corner of Guatemala! 



Modesta and her family traveled around Guatemala to find poor villages with the talent to produce high-quality products, so she could help support them by providing them with a sustainable and fair trade opportunity to work. Every product preserves the integrity of Guatemalan culture in the textiles, wood carvings, and other products. Utz Kem’s goal is to offer their customers a range of different artisan designs made from every corner of Guatemala to help reach every corner of other countries around the world.

Gaby of Oook! Learning Supplies

Gaby

Oook! Learning Supplies

This beautiful Mama, Gaby, is behind the design and products of Oook! (pronounced O-K) Learning Supplies. She has a degree in agriculture and teaching. Her and her husband have always been entrepreneurs dabbling in different ventures with farming and plants. They found success in selling air plants. Once the pandemic hit in 2020, Gaby found herself concerned about the continued success of her business.

This is when Oook! Learning Supplies was born. She became inspired to create products where she can be more present with her children and incorporate educational activities. During the pandemic, a need for parent’s to teach their children from home had risen, and remains the case for many today. Gaby wanted to find a way to help other parents and teachers by creating high quality, bi-lingual resources that are creative and stimulating for children. Unable to sell outside of Guatemala due to technology barriers that prohibit online commerce, Inspire Me Latin America is helping her break those barriers to sell in the US & Canada! 


More Coming Soon

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Become an Artisan Partner

If you are located in the Guatemala City area and would like to meet with our buyer for consideration into IMLA, please send an email with photos of your work and bio to inspiremelatinamerica@gmail.com.