Amy Joy, CEO
Amy Joy is a proud Guatemalan-Canadian who was born en casa in the mountains of Quetzaltenango to a Guatemalan musician and Canadian missionary. Her first 7 years of life were spent in the beautiful foothills of Volcán Santa María embracing all the quintessential sights and sounds of her father’s home country of Guatemala. At the age of 7, her journey took her and her mother to Canada where she spent the rest of her childhood in the small town of Abbotsford, British Columbia.
Coming from a long lineage of artists, Amy’s creativity was evident at a young age and she even attended the Royal Conservatory of Music to study piano. At 14 years old Amy picked up a camera for the first time and quickly grasped the art of photography, which defined the trajectory of her teenage and young professional life. After years of enjoying the arts as a hobby, Amy decided to study Media Arts at Lasalle International College where she developed professional skills in Graphic Design, Photography and Marketing.
Upon graduation in 2012, Amy went straight into the corporate world of Graphic Design, Project Management and even went on to become a Financial Supervisor for the Yukon Government. While in the Yukon, Amy helped develop and implement a new database system to help low-income families (many who were first nation indigenous) and found a passion for social justice. While working in the Yukon allowed Amy to be close to nature, she never truly had the opportunity to connect with her surroundings while being in such a demanding position. After years and years of juggling high-paced jobs, Amy found herself burnt out and mentally drained.
This is when she decided to step back from such a demanding and draining environment to pick up her camera once again. In 2021, Amy left the corporate world, slowed to the pace of nature and reconnected with her passion of photography. This decision gave her much needed space to focus on her own mental health. Quickly, her creativity, energy and spark came back and it wasn’t long before she was featured in Google Canada and Natgeo North. But Amy still strived for more, remembered her passion for social justice and had Guatemala always running through her veins. For years Amy kept this box half open, finding small ties to her Guatemalan roots but never fully taking the leap to learn more about her birth country. Over the years, Amy discovered Hiptipico, used a Hiptipico camera strap when launching her photography business and always felt this strong urge to discover more.
In 2022, Amy came across an ad that this special connection she kept to Guatemala, Hiptipico, was for sale! Immediately, Amy was overcome with emotions, flashbacks, daydreams and sparks. It all finally clicked. While she loved running her own creative business, she always knew there was more to her story. This was her heart’s calling. A perfect combination of all her professional and personal experiences with the added zest of Guatemala.
After an easy and free flowing phone call with Alyssa, the rest is history! Just a few months later in September of 2022, Amy flew down to Guatemala to pursue her dream of living and working in her birth country in a creative, artistic and meaningful way. As a proud indigenous latina, she is now ready to lead Hiptipico into its next chapter as a revolutionary ethical fashion brand rooted in cultural celebration.
A special note from Amy:
“I believe that everything happens for a reason. I believe that my own personal healing journey was essential to bring me to this place of leadership. I believe in Hiptipico’s vision, to honor the Maya culture, motivate local entrepreneurial spirits and empower female artisans so they can have a direct impact on their families and communities. I still remember how I felt when I first heard the stories of our artisan partners in person— they dream of equality, education for their children, and the healing of their grieving society. I feel as though I have finally understood the reality, that not all people are treated equally here in Guatemala. But I do believe that TOGETHER we can evoke change. I stand with the artisans, with the indigenous women of Guatemala and I believe they are the true heroines of my country. They will be the ones who will weave healing back into Guatemala once again.
I feel so honored to be here. To me, this isn’t a job, it’s an art, and I believe that art can change this world.”
A graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, with a Master's Degree in Economic Development of Latin America, Alyssa moved to rural Guatemala in 2011. At the age of 25, she followed her dream to get more involved in bottom-up community development focused on indigenous cultural preservation. And for 10 years, that's what she focused on.
Building upon her past non-profit experiences at KIVA, Pencils of Promise and extensive global travel, Alyssa recognized the hardships marginalized populations faced in their efforts to escape poverty. But it wasn't until a chance encounter on the streets with a Maya artisan named Maria in Panajachel, Guatemala that Alyssa was inspired to launch her own social enterprise. In August of 2012, after months of living in the highlands of rural Guatemala, Alyssa launched Hiptipico.
Alyssa took a personal approach to running her company, living and working on the ground in Guatemala for 10 consecutive years. Alyssa was highly dedicated to spending quality time with the artisans regularly and she knows about the depths of their lives. During that time Alyssa chose to communicate openly with each artisan, finding ways to emphasize their abilities, talents, and culture to help them escape poverty by utilizing the strengths they already have.
Alyssa always says, Hiptipico artisan partners are not just vendors or a business venture; they are my extended family. Alyssa built Hiptipico under the notion that the artisans are not working "for" her, but she is working for them. "I started Hiptipico to help create dignified job opportunities for Maya artisans. They want to sell their goods and my job is to help find them clients." Using the platform of Hiptipico, ethical travel and sustainable sourcing allows her to show their products and share their genuine story.
Maintaining transparency and open lines of communication with the artisans and customers is the vision Alyssa had when starting Hiptipico. She spent years sharing real-time videos from Guatemala and updates her personal social media regularly allowing shoppers to feel the essence behind each product and get to know each artisan personally. She also made it her priority to hire local Guatemalans and indigenous locals as full-time staff.
Up until the pandemic, Alyssa and her local staff offered insight trips, sourcing tours and textile workshops out of their office in Panajachel. This was a unique opportunity to show transparency by inviting travelers and buyers to see their ethical operations and get to know the artisan partners firsthand. Known as Immersion Tours, these trips were designed for solo travelers with a penchant for authentic experiences as well as groups looking for alternative spring break options.
During the shut down, Alyssa worked with local nonprofits to supply 50 high-need families a week in remote communities with lifesaving kits. She received gracious donations from Guatemalans all over the world to provide food and supplies to indigenous families who lost their livelihood to the pandemic. Simultaneously, Alyssa contemplated how to take Hiptipico to the next level and continue to be the leaders in the ethical fashion industry. It was time for Alyssa to complete the dream she had when starting Hiptipico, giving it back to the community.
And in 2022, that's exactly what happened. In order to lead by example, Alyssa passed the company to Amy Joy, an indigenous Guatemalan to continue the legacy of Hiptipico. Under the leadership of Amy, Hiptipico will return to its people and be led by a true indigenous artist.
Presently, Alyssa offers business consulting for other small businesses, social enterprises and women-owned brands to harness the power of social media for good. Through digital storytelling, she continues to update us on all her next journey. Follow along @alyssaya