We had the good fortune of connecting with Maria Salazar and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Maria, what do you attribute your success to?
An important factor behind Arawayuu’s success is in our mission to redefine ethical fashion and invite our audience to shop with a purpose as we join the slow fashion movement. Additionally, our brand is proud to be born in San Diego, but crafted in Colombia. Arawayuu, whose name is inspired by our Wayuu (“Wah-you”) artisans, majority are women who make every bag by hand with organic cotton, encourages ethnic fashion through fair trade while embracing boho-chic styles. The intricate bag designs are traditional to the area and feature tapestry crochet patterns, geometric compositions, and pineapple imagery, as reflected in Arawayuu’s logo. The brand’s Mochila bags represent a particular form of expression for these tribeswomen; their labor-intensive weaving process can take more than 160 hours and uses ancient crochet techniques passed down through generations. Arawayuu showcases each individual artisan’s life story and cultural traditions through its bags’ motifs; no one ever wears the same mochila bag, as no weaver’s story is ever the same. The bold color palette expressed in our Summer-Spring 2020 collection is inspired by California’s bohemian beach vibe and features a colorful twist and trending neon colors including lime green, blinding yellow, hot pink and flame orange. Standout items include the Wayuu Clutch, Wayuu Mochila Bags, Stacked Tassel Earrings, Leather Chokers. 10% of our sales are donated to our COVID-19 Emergency Response helping our Wayuu artisans fight against quarantine-related hunger issues. It’s part of our mission to also give back to our Wayuu artisans and set a positive example in our community.
What should our readers know about your business?
I had a desire to change the narrative around its history and culture, which inspired me to create Arawayuu, a charitable fashion brand born in San Diego and crafted by the Wayuu (“Wah-you”) tribe in La Guajira, Colombia. Arawayuu offers vibrant Mochila bags and clutches handwoven by our Wayuu artisans as well as leather chokers and tassel earrings that I design myself. Arawayuu is more than a business or a company for me, it’s a community and brand with a purpose to support each other. I’m proud of developing Arawayuu’s socially conscious concept after realizing a widespread lack of ethical fashion, a growing tendency that has pushed brands across the globe to change sourcing and production processes in recent years. We’re super thrilled to share our latest addition to our SS20 collection, recently launched this spring for all of our yogi lovers and beachgoers: Arawayuu’s adjustable Yoga Mat Straps! We’re bringing different color options from vibrant to neutral tones with an adjustable hook-and-loop closure. The colorful fabric is 100% organic cotton and thick enough that it won’t dig into your shoulder (how cool is that!?). More than struggles, I think of the solutions and valuable lessons I’ve come across this journey! I’m a huge believer in manifestation and how the universe conspires in your favor. I also believe that nothing in life comes easy, everything takes time, commitment, consistency, and patience. This is a big part of trusting the process and it can be easy to lose motivation when you think of your business struggles. Being an entrepreneur can feel like being on a rollercoaster and this isn’t new for anyone, especially when some doors close. Fortunately, it is in my personality to find new solutions and stay motivated. I’m determined, go-getter, and very outgoing, always looking for opportunities to grow on this journey.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
As a huge advocate of supporting local businesses and shopping small, I have lots of local spots I love visiting! But if I had to describe my perfect day around San Diego, would start off the day at FEMX Quarters, a co-working space and event venue located in Mission Hills, to enjoy a free coworking day pass. One of the best perks and “musts” of working from FEMX Quarters is Yipao’s Coffee Cart, also my favorite specialty Colombian coffee brand roasted in San Diego. Their second location is in University Heights by Kairoa Brewery also another great spot to work remote by their open balcony! Then I would walk down to Old Town for lunch at Tahona, offering authentic Oaxacan food and one of the best margaritas with 120+ mezcal options. Later on, walk around Balboa Park to the botanical garden and visit the Museum of Art. Then I’d drive to North Park to explore a few of my favorite small shops, Pigment and Artelexia. By the afternoon, I’d head over to Kate Sessions Park in Pacific Beach to enjoy the sunset view and beautiful San Diego landscape. To end the day, I’d pick up some empanadas and iced mate drinks with Dulce de Leche at Yerba Mate Bar – It is located in Pacific Beach and also considered Arawayuu’s second home, where we offer our SS20 collection of Mochila bags and Clutch Bags.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Additionally, to being Arawayuu’s Founder and Creative Designer, I’m also a Bilingual Digital Strategist & Publicist helping leverage businesses and brands in the technology, lifestyle, food and hospitality industry. I’m currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Information Technology and as it is today, I have had the pleasure and honor to work with other powerful brands and inspiring people. They have made this journey even better with all their advice, help and mentorship. I’m proud of being where I am today, being able to create a community through our social impact is one of my most significant moments. But, I would not be where I am today if it would not be for the Arawayuu community aka as we’d like to call them #ArawayuuTribe, my family, closest friends, and my partner. So I’d like to shoutout my amazing support system for sticking around, for believing in Arawayuu’s mission and for helping us make our vision happen!
Branding & logo designed by Only Child Design https://onlychildesign.
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