Hello over there, I would like to introduce you to a brand that spits lyrical about fair trade, supporting women and putting the love back into their community. There is fashion that works to make us feel fine all over and then there is fashion that does all of that with the added bonus of giving heart the size of a Mister Whippy Truck.
Wayiro is a brand that cares.
Originating in Colombia, this badass brand works exclusively with the women of the Wayuu tribe through a fair trade agreement that not only allows the women of the community financial independence, but also works in aiding the entire community’s social projects including language programs, education and mothers who are sole providers for their families.
The story behind Wayiro is inspiring and proves that we are able to create a business that is profitable as well socially conscious. By helping struggling communities that ultimately have so much to offer, Wayiro is teaching us that you can go out and snag your dreams without ever forgetting where you came from. One could say that they’re still Jenny; from the Block.
This week I have been so fortunate to speak with the brains behind the project, Salomon and Connie to let you know a lil’ more about their work and what it means for the Wayuu tribe. We did a 5 Questions to Get to Know Ya Party, and this is what they had to say.
Tell us about Wayiro and yourselves. What drove you to create such an inspiring project?
We had always wanted to create an entrepreneurial project that would also have social impact. Furthermore, being Colombian, we saw promoting the unique cultures in our country as an inspiring route to do this. The Wayuu community was specifically interesting to us not just given their gorgeous handmade pieces, but also due to their struggles, their vulnerability, and the lack of attention given to their specific needs. We identified that artisan and handmade products were beginning to be a trend worldwide, which is where we saw the perfect opportunity to promote Wayuu creations through a socially sustainable brand that gives Wayuu artisans what they deserve while also being a profitable project.
You have provided the Wayuu tribe with such a unique yet wonderfully empowering opportunity to continue their traditions as well as engaging in a new business that can provide them with independence. What was the initial reaction to this idea within your community as well as the Wayuu Tribe itself?
Tell us a little about the process of creating these beautiful bags. How long does it take to make one bag by hand?
One bag usually takes a month to make. It is hand crochet by the sea in the Guajira desert region of Colombia. Wayiro only sells one-of-a-kind bags with exclusive designs. Each bag is woven by a woman that has usually learned from her ancestors, and that supports her entire family through this art. Usually Wayuu women crochet specific symbols and homages to nature in their pieces. Each design is entirely created by each woman, making each bag absolutely unique.
Wayiro is a brand that empowers the women of the Wayuu tribe and promotes fair trade and equality in partnership. What is one piece of advice you would give other aspiring entrepreneurial activists?