I am excited to share with you my journey in creating Hiptipico’s latest newly woven strap alongside our indigenous artisan partners in Chontala, Guatemala. Back in 2017, Hiptipico formed a partnership with Manuela, the leader of the Chontala Weaving Cooperative and this incredible group of women that consists of 23 master weavers in a small village in the Quiche department of Guatemala. Their speciality is embroidering traditional belts with intricate floral patterns inspired by nature. You can read the entire story of how we connected and began our partnership here.
The inspiration behind the creation of this newly woven strap is extremely personal to me and the Hiptipico journey. As I transition to become the new owner of Hiptipico, I wanted to connect with the women and co-create something to honor this next phase. As an artist, Guatemalan, business owner and woman, La Nueva Luna Strap idea just poured out of my soul and Manuela was right there with me to help bring the idea to life. Want to know more about the company transition? You can read about it here.
The concept behind La Nueva Luna Strap is based on moon phases to represent this next chapter. The moon also represents La Luna de Xelaju - a classic famous song in Guatemala that represents Xela, my birth city. To incorporate the women’s weaving specialty and Manuela’s expertise, the strap would also have colorful blooming lotus flowers that represent rebirth and new beginnings.
Once I finished developing the mockup design in Photoshop, I sat down with Manuela to discuss next steps. She took public transportation for about an hour from her village to meet me in Panajachel. During this meeting at the Hiptipico office we shared a working lunch of none other than Pollo Campero (yum!) and chatted about execution, timeline, and samples. Together, Manuela and I chose the powerful and joyous colors of purple, teal and coral and decided on thread and pattern placement.
It wasn’t long before Manuela sent us a photo of the first sample of La Nueva Luna strap via Whatsapp. It was such an incredible feeling to see how Manuela took a mock-up design and brought it to life with her master weaving skills. Like all samples, we made alterations and a few rounds of changes before getting it just right. The next meeting to see the almost final design, the entire Hiptipico team took the trip to Chontala to share an afternoon with the community. This was an experience I will never forget. During this visit, we shared a home cooked meal together, officially picked out the thread colors in person and discussed the final details of La Nueva Luna Strap. As the new owner of Hiptipico, this was my first visit to the Chontala community and I was flooded with memories from my childhood the entire time. From walking into the kitchen smelling the Caldo de Gallina to the laughs of the children, I felt so blessed to be welcomed into this community and be surrounded by such talented women.
Not only does this partnership with Chontala represent steady income and dignified job opportunity for the women, it also represents the preservation of culture, language and traditions for the next generation. A moment that touched my heart during this trip was when Angelica (7 years old) ran into her room to show us all something. She came running back out proudly holding up her very own woven strap that she’s been working on just for the Hiptipico team. In this moment, witnessing the next generation continuing to uphold their indigenous culture through weaving, language and traditions is exactly what Hiptipico aspires for. We want the women and children to know their talent is valued, deserves to be paid fairly for and is worth preserving. Thanks to you, our thoughtful community of conscious shoppers, this is all possible. My heart is so full and the women are so grateful. Thank again for being a part of this journey.
If you want to shop the pre-sale of the Nueva Luna strap click here! Available for a limited time only. To shop other camera straps handmade by Manuela and the Chontala Weaving Cooperative click here.
Siempre con amor,
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❀ Read more about Chontala and the weaving cooperative here.