To say our trip to San Miguel de Allende was "great" would be an understatement. While not my first time there, as a new business owner trying to gain my footing, San Miguel offered a clearer path to branding, purpose, trajectory and curating our store. When we arrived we promptly set our things down in our room at the Villa Mirasol and darted to a shop that would become our primary source for inventory. Tia met our shopkeeper during previous visits and was confident it would be a fruitful relationship for both parties. She was right. We walked into the storefront greeted by an endless ocean of bright colors and textiles. It was almost difficult to decipher what you wanted to wear and what you wanted to display in a gallery.
We set up for the next several hours in a back room combing through stacks upon stacks of exquisite works of artisanship. I was unbelievably inspired. Each item told a story from one corner of Mexico to another. I learned that the diamond pattern in San Andres blouses represent the universe and that the figures underneath represent the animal kingdom and/or the earth and cultivation of the land. The Huipiles de Coban actually come from Guatemala and are the lightweight counterpart to the heavier, traditional huipiles. The majority of blouses are created and constructed in Chiapas, Puebla or Oaxaca. Each embroidery technique from either Chiapas, Oaxaca, Puebla and Otomi is a learned skill that takes a long time to master. Naturally, more central and southern states have geometric, Mayan influence. I learned so much about the clothing that I grew up seeing in boutiques and markets but never took the time to understand the geographic importance.
Our story gets better. We met Etelvina, the well-traveled, business savvy shopkeeper who was dressed in indigenous clothing from Ecuador and carrying her smart phone around (so that she never missed correspondence with her customers in Mexico and abroad.) She exuded warmth, familiarity, graciousness and willingness to help. Her daughter is a senior in college in Austin and like her mother, she is well-traveled, participated in many exchange programs abroad and is incredibly savvy. After graduation, Etelvina's daughter would like to return to San Miguel to help her mother with her store and create a non-profit to support the indigenous people that supply the shop with their goods. Through her daughter, Mi Tia is able to replenish our inventory moving forward. What an honor to be surrounded by fabulous, driven women in business.
Finally, we traveled to San Miguel with my best friend and extraordinary photographer, Ashlee Newman. She was able to document our trip, the people and the beautiful cobblestone streets of this charming city. To view our trip or to buy prints visit: http://www.ashleenewman.com/travel-san-miguel-de-allende-mexico