Why Kakaw?


We’re getting a lot of people asking how we chose “Kakaw Designs” as our new name, and with good reason!  Well, friends, here is the short version of the story on the website:

Q: Why Kakaw?

A: “Kakaw” is the word in the indigenous Mayan language K’iché for “cacao”, the wonderful plant that gives us chocolate.  In Guatemala, the Maya were enjoying kakaw drinks over 2,500 years ago.  It’s no wonder the scientific name for the plant means “food of the gods.”

We love this word because we love nature, Maya traditions, Guatemala, dark chocolate, treating ourselves, and hey, did we mention Mari has a cacao leaf tattoo?  We took it as a sign from the Kakaw god.

And for those of you still curious, here is the more complete story:

Ikuska and I knew that we had to change our business name when we took the step to become official partners in crime.  Oh, the long threads of emails between Guatemala and San Francisco… and so many conversations with friends over beer, as I am a firm believer of beer as a catalyst of creativity.

We thought about everything.  We knew we wanted to somehow connect beautiful Guatemala with the rest of the world, and knew to avoid silly clichés like the word “Maya”…. we had lots of DON’Ts but not many DO’s.

Ikuska and Mari in the Galápagos, 2012

Until… Ikuska and I started to think about our experiences together, and the most memorable was when she came to visit me on the Galapagos Islands while I was living there, working as a preschool teacher.  On the islands, we spent a couple of nights at the gorgeous Galapagos Safari Camp, and in the darkness at night made friends with a beautiful owl.  A female Barn Owl, to be specific.  It got to a point where I could whistle and she would come and perch right next to me.

Our new friend

After a couple of hours of observing this magical owl, we saw something incredible – it caught a finch right in front of our eyes!  Pure Galápagos.

So, when reminiscing about this owl and and Galapagos, Ikuska and I started to daydream about native animals of Guatemala, especially birds, and then finally… where do birds live?  In trees!

When Ikuska mentioned Kakaw from a long list of native plant species of the area, that was it.  The answer was on my shoulder the entire time – my cacao leaf tattoo.

Mari’s cacao leaf tattoo

We love the Kakaw spelling in its indigenous form, we love that the cacao plant has so much significance in the area, we love everything chocolate, we love its feminine appeal, and we love tattoos.  We love Kakaw.


2 thoughts on “Why Kakaw?

  1. Pingback: We’re Kakaw Designs! | Gray Boots Blog

  2. Pingback: Kakaw and Birds | Kakaw Designs

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