Hola! I'm so excited and grateful for this moment because a couple months ago this was just a fun side project. Funny how life has other plans.
Let me explain who we are and what this is all about: Azulina Wayuu is a company that works with the Wayuu artisans of Colombia to create gorgeous handmade Wayuu mochila purses and totes. It is the newest addition to the Azulina collection of artisan made Colombian goods.
Side Note: What is a Wayuu Mochila?
The Background Story
My name is Melissa Moriarty and I am the founder of Azulina. This project has been a dream I've had for the past two years and after a lot of hard work (procrastination) I can finally say it has come to life.
I've been in the business of working with talented Colombian artisans for three years now. Our primary business is ceramics but it's impossible to not expand into other products when you're surrounded by so much talent.
The inspiration to start working with Wayuu artisans started with a fun weekend trip two years ago when I traveled to Cabo de la Vela in the La Guajira department of Colombia, the northernmost tip of South America, where I attended kitesurf school.
Spoiler alert: I failed at kitesurfing but found some pretty bags.
The kitesurf classes were fun for the first day and then I got distracted by a lady named Conchita and her gorgeous mochila purses.
Conchita lives right next to the ranchería where we were staying for the weekend (that is what they call a group of huts - it is where the Wayuu reside in small communities). She is one of the most well-known and respected Wayuu mochila artisans in Colombia. In fact, she has traveled all over the world sharing the story of the indigenous Wayuu community and the gorgeous mochilas (purses) they crochet by hand.
You cannot begin to imagine the quality and beauty of the craftsmanship of these bags. The fact that the artisans who make them live in an area without any outside influences, let alone running water, is astounding.
We got to talking and I told her that somehow, some way, I wanted to work with her. That was two years ago and here we are today.
Since that point in time I've traveled out to the region multiple times to expand our artisan reach and connect with additional groups. Including the women in Conchita's cooperative we are now sourcing from over 60 Wayuu women artisans.
I make it a point to travel out to the region myself, visit with the artisans in their homes and purchase directly from the cooperatives they are a part of to ensure our artisans receive fair prices on their products.
The idea is that we will keep growing through new partnerships and new product development like small accessories.
We have a gorgeous collaboration in the works with the fabulous Texas designer Katie Kime, launching next month, and several new shipments of mini mochilas, due to arrive in the coming weeks.
If you want to stay in the know you can sign up for our newsletter by entering your email address below. We'd love to have you join our growing community!
Con Mucho Amor,
Founder, Azulina Wayuu