In the days of fast fashion and Amazon, one-of-a-kind handcrafted goods are hard to come by. And when you do find them, they seem expensive, relative to the cheap imports available at call.
In our search to find quality, handcrafted goods with remarkable style and a good cause, we have come across Hilo Sagrado - a women-owned, women-run Colombian company that sources tribal designed mochilla bags from the desert region of northern Colombia, La Guajira. Each bag takes the Wayuu woman who crafts it 1 month to make, and is inspired by what she sees around her, in nature and the world. The Wayuu people have passed down the weaving methods for centuries, and the profits from sales go directly back into the communities.
We were fortunate enough to join Hilo Sarado on this year’s trip to La Guijara to meet the women who are producing our bags, and to take part in the reinvestment process. Hilo brought and installed water filters in the communities and held workshops so that the community members could learn the construction process. This was a notable achievement because there is a lot of red tape (red tape being a euphemism) in this region of Colombia, and water is important there. One of the most resource-rich regions in the country, La Guajira has been plagued by corruption from both within and outside of Colombia. Mining companies have polluted the region’s water supply and, in conjunction with droughts, have killed millions of people. But the Wayuu attitude doesn’t reflect this. Instead the women project a resilient, upbeat culture of gratitude and creativity. Although they were not entirely sure what or where California is, they understood that we came from far away and they were adamant in letting us know that they appreciated our interest in their culture and art, and that we are always welcome to return.