Working with Local Artisans From South America
Posted on October 14 2015
Bright colors and vibrant prints is what I saw when looking through the latest bag designs from Twist Native. Who’s behind these colorful creations? Kimberely Endara and her team of talented artisans from South America. See at one time, Kimberely grew up in Ecuador and met wonderful people that left a positive impact in creating her future (now) self. She now works with many artisans, brewing up designs and creating work for individuals in poverty areas. Who doesn’t want to a live a life, doing what they love? I think we all can agree, we want that for ourselves and Kimberely Endara is nourishing that life she dreamt of – to give creative individuals within South America a chance at living an improved life and to live that life doing something they also love.
1. How did you get started and select your talented women artisans?
Growing up in South America, I came across such hard working individuals who were so kind and genuinely good people yet they were struggling. I knew that someday I would start something that would help end the cycle of poverty, and that is why Twist Native was born.
When I traveled back to South America, I browsed the markets, chatted with the sales people, and I did a lot of research to find out where I could find the skilled artisans that I was looking for. I ended up traveling about 7 hours away from my home in Ecuador and met up with my amazing head woman artisan. She is hilarious and such an inspiration. As a mother of three, she runs the household trying to make ends meet anyway she can: making handmade items, owning a small bodega full of candy that sells for 10 cents, and managing a lot with corn. She’s an entrepreneur and she gets things done. In her community there are many other artisans that are working with her on my project and she was in charge of scouting them. All are very talented women.
2. It must feel rewarding to give back to communities you truly care about. Do you have a special story you can share with us?
It really is, but I don’t do it because I want to feel a sense of reward but I rather want to be the voice of these individuals. These woman have showed me that in times of struggle they didn’t turn to negative behaviors or situations rather they turned their smarts on and got to work. They are “paradigm shifters” and out of any negative situation they create a positive – I think this is so inspiring.
A great story was when I first met my head woman artisan. We were chatting about all the logistics and looking at colors and production methods. When we were leaving, we hugged and planned for our next meeting, without even saying anything, her young daughters had gone out and pulled fresh corn from their little “finca” small farm, and were waiting with it for us. I thought it was so generous and gracious.
3. The bags featured on your site give off such a positive energy. How do you end up picking styles and colors?
I find that artisans have such colorful lives and I wanted the bags to reflect that because it’s a representation of them. Also, the line was coming out in the summer, so I thought it made sense.
4. Have you always been interested in fashion?
Yes and no. I love the idea of social enterprises and believe that America is such a consumer society that I knew it would be cool to match the two together. I enjoy getting dressed up, but I’m not one to follow New York Fashion week closely. I like authentic styles better than trends.
5. What do you hope to accomplish next for Twist Native?
To keep enrolling more artisans and to start a new bag for the next line (I’m also brainstorming some cool yoga mat holders)
Special thanks to Kimberly Endara, the Founder of Twist Native.
Working with artisans can yield vibrant creations and help the international community.