Photo Contest Submissions

GRACIAS to everyone who sent us photos with their Kakaw goodies during our November Photo Contest!  We love seeing our goodies in action!

WINNER: This shot, taken in Peru of Kelly, looking lovely with our Quetzal Wrap!

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We’re so honored that Kelly would take the wrap all the way to Peru on her vacation!!

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Kelly in her home town Minneapolis.

Haley Reynolds

Surprise shot captured of Haley wearing her Hummingbird Boots in Minnesota.
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Sarah lounging in her custom-made Original Boots in Antigua.

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Sarah showing off her favorite textile, from Todos Santos.  She also has a matching clutch.

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Kendra in New York sporting her Hummingbird Boots and Quetzal Tote.

Erin Wrapping

Erin carefully packaging her holiday gifts in Chicago… the inside will be a surprise!

 

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Leah wearing her Macaw Boots in Virginia, with her lovely horse.

Tayor Snow

Texan girl Taylor looking adorable in her Macaw Boots in the winter.

THANK YOU EVERYONE for the beautiful photos!  We can see that our Kakaw products are loved.

Stay tuned for the next photo contest, maybe in January  or February, after the holidays?

We’re having a SALE!

We are so thankful to everyone who ordered ahead of the holiday rush during our Pre-Holiday Sale.  Since our products are handmade from start to finish, it takes time to craft each item, especially boots.  If you missed the sale, don’t worry!  Our gift certificates are on sale now (25% off!) for all boots.  That means the $265 certificate for the Original Boot is now only $198.75, and the $345 certificate for either the Hummingbird Boot or the Macaw Boot is only $258.75!  Take advantage of the offer only available in December!

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We’re also ready to have a BAG SALE of items that we have ready to go, in California for fast shipping!

Macaw Clutch Nuria

Macaw Clutch on sale now for $60 (normally $75)

 

Tote Apple Lake Square

Quetzal Tote now on sale for $75 (normally $90)

 

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Hummingbird Clutch on sale now for $60 (normally $75)

 

COMING SOON: HUMMINGBIRD BOOT SALE
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Our most popular indigo boot will be on sale for the same 25% off in December!  Working on inventory at the moment, and will be posting later this week the available sizes.  Stay tuned!!

 

My intro to the World of Fashion: Mercedes-Benz Fashion

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What an experience to be part of Guatemala’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Show on November 19th, 2015!  I am still recovering from the thrill of seeing our handmade boots and bags on the runway as part of the beautiful looks by Vessel.

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With Liza Carrillo, designer for Vessel, and fellow Vessel lovers

I would like to make yet another confession (this blog is full of confessions these days)… I never expected to be part of a runway show.  I don’t even really know how I got to this point where I am being introduced to strangers as “Mari, the Designer for Kakaw Designs.”  When did I become a designer, and part of this Fashion scene?

I started Kakaw Designs because I love the handwoven textiles in Guatemala, and saw the need for truly high-quality products using these gorgeous textiles.  And hey, I’ve always loved boots… so why not boots?  And then we started making bags and accessories, too, always with the mission to work with talented weavers and leathersmiths.  But this amateur thought that we would need to go against “Fast Fashion”, the kind that we see on the runway, that it was Us vs. Them.

Turns out, I was wrong.  There is a place on the runway for quality handmade products.  Vessel is a great example of a brand mixing beautiful contemporary designs with traditional and handmade accents, perhaps most notable in their use of embroidery, like in this gorgeous jacket that I wore to the event, combining Vessel and Kakaw for the night:

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Handmade dress (designed by yours truly), with the awesome red Vessel jacket and a unique Kakaw clutch.

My friends know that I was worried for the show.  I was worried about using traditional designs, about incorporating these gorgeous handmade pieces into the runway show, I thought for some reason Kakaw products would not fit in.  Worse yet, I was worried about being disrespectful to the handmade and traditional processes, these designs that are so beautiful and so labor-intensive to produce, somehow decreasing its importance by being part of such a big show as this one by Mercedes-Benz.  Thank goodness I was dead wrong!

The looks are so beautiful.  Liza Carrillo, the designer (now she really is a designer) for Vesesl, put everything together so elegantly and tastefully.  She did an incredible job.

THIS LOOK: the opening look for Vessel, and one of my favorites for sure.

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And here’s my video, I apologize in advance because I am not a videographer:

 

There are so many labels these days within the fashion industry: Fast Fashion, Slow Fashion, Ethical Fashion, Sustainable Fashion, Eco Fashion…. but they do all fall under one category: Fashion.  There are so many problems in the big mainstream fashion scene, but at this runway level, it is a fantasy world, a theatrical show.  These looks are presented as works of art, that may or may not be for sale, but first and foremost they are works of art to be appreciated as such.  And in this sense, I have gained so much respect for this world of Fashion at the runway level.

En fin, I loved being part of this runway experience.  I would do it again in a heartbeat, knowing that there is a way to present handmade products respectfully and beautifully in a place I thought was reserved for mainstream fashion (whatever that is).  There is a big movement taking place, not only in Guatemala but all over the world, of appreciating artisans and valuing handmade processes.  Guatemala stands out because of its indigenous peoples and arts, as in the traditional textiles of the Maya.  But I rest assured that Kakaw is only a small part of this big change, that there are many other like-minded designers and brands that are working towards values such as respect, sustainability, and the continuation of traditional art forms.  This is a great feeling, full of hope, and I look forward to seeing where our journey takes us.

 

XOXO,

Mari

 

 

 

Time to Celebrate!

Things are happening in

Guatemala…

You’ve probably heard the news: both President and Vice President forced to resign, and Guatemalans voted for a comedian as next president.

Oh yes, there’s lots going on back here in Guate-linda.  Thanks to a UN-backed investigation on corruption, both the Prez and the VP were revealed to have been involved in a huge corruption scandal, involving taking lots of bribes.  Not that surprising, but this time around, both were forced to resign, and are now facing some serious charges.  And THAT is the first!

Guatemalans have come together and they want change.  In the first round of votes for the next president, a comedian with no political experience came in first.  We won’t know until we have the next round of votes in October if Jimmy will be our next leader, but it looks likely now.  Guatemala wants out of the old corrupt political system, and maybe some comedy is exactly the answer?

Back in the US….

What a different world it is!

A part of me had forgotten what it was like for the pedestrian to have right of way, to run on the trail feeling safe, and eat such a variety of delicious foods (I had a mental list of everything I wanted to eat: Pad Thai, Pho Soup, Chipotle burrito, fresh lobster…Check, check, and check!).

I had also almost forgotten that California is a pretty cool place, and San Francisco just amazing.  This nomad saw the appeal in living in such a gorgeous town full of cool, eco-friendly people.  I admit, I felt terrible when I failed to carry a shopping bag with me, as everyone should.  Those cute little stores really sneak up on you… and then there I was, buying something without a bag.  It took a couple of times for me to learn and always carry a bag in my purse, no matter where I was going.

Don’t let this happen to you!  Celebrate bag-free California, and political changes in Guatemala!

Get two Mercado Bags for $35,

(saving $15!) so you can carry a piece of Guatemala with you and be environmentally friendly, too.

Use code “celebrateguatemala”.  Applicable for Mercado Bags sold in pairs only, and until September 30th!

Now that’s something to smile about 🙂

Bag-free California

This trip back in California, I failed a couple of times.  I failed to take a shopping bag with me!

When the destination is shopping, to the farmer’s market or grocery store, I know to take a bag with me.  That’s pretty simple.  But when I’m just walking around San Francisco and I find something in a little store unexpectedly (like vintage leather gloves or a handmade little notebook, both excellent finds!)… that’s when I realize I failed. Now that California stores have to ask if the consumer wants a bag, and they charge for them, I am always reminded of my failure. FAIL.

But I love that California has taken this big step in the green direction.  Having lived on small islands, I’ve seen the effects plastic bags can have on marine life and birds…  There’s just no need to create so much waste.

Now I carry a Mercado Bag with me everywhere I go, just in case I find another treasure somewhere.  Lesson learned.

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Get your own Mercado Bag – only $25 each, handmade in Guatemala.

Success!! Fundación Waybi Event

After lots of prepping on design and production, we are so pleased with how the TAKE A WALK event went last week!

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Held at the best textile museum in Guatemala with food, wine, live music, and of course Kakaw products, it was a night not to be missed!  Fundación Waybi was able to raise awareness and funds for their animal assisted therapy programs, and we are happy to be donating 40% of all sales from that evening to the cause.

Next step: making the Perrito Collection available online, of course always with a portion going directly to Fundación Waybi so that they can continue their work with their therapy animals here in Guatemala, helping people with disabilities live fuller lives.  Expect those cute Perrito Clutches and Wallets to be available next month!

Check out some of the photos from the night:

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Perritos everywhere!

We’ve been working on something different… a collection full of dogs!  Because we love dogs, yes, but most of all because the organization Bocalán Guatemala / Fundación Waybi approached us to see if we could help them with this specific collection, with the goal of raising funds to train puppies to become therapy dogs here in Guatemala.

You see, Bocalán works internationally with dogs specifically for animal assisted therapy.  These dogs are amazing, and help people with all kinds of different disabilities live fuller and hopefully happier lives.  To learn more about the organization, check out their Facebook page.

We’re planning a local event in July to launch this collection – and soon after that, the idea is to have the products available for sale online as well, always with a portion of the sales going to Bocalán.  We’re pretty excited about this… local artisans, handmade process, high-quality and beautiful products… and now add to the list training dogs for therapy?  This is truly win-win for everyone.

Kakaw Designs in Guatemala

When I started this baby of mine (Kakaw Designs) a little over a year ago, I had only considered the markets outside of Guatemala.  I thought we would work with local partners and artisans in Guatemala, and then ship the handmade boots and bags to abroad.  Through this model, we’ve done well – we’ve had orders from the US, Canada, Japan, Australia, Germany, Spain, and the UK.

What I didn’t expect was so much interest locally here in Guatemala.  Turns out, people here (both Guatemalan and foreign) are in search of well-made luxury products, always with the local Mayan accents, and solid partnerships with the artisans.  We’re bombarded here in Antigua with handicrafts everywhere, and always handmade, but the attention to detail is definitely not the same.  What we have at Kakaw is really luxury, and that’s hard to find.

With that said, I was honored when Vessel Boutique asked to have Kakaw products at their new store in Antigua.  Vessel is a well-established boutique in Mexico City, who themselves have a complete line of handmade clothes and accessories made in Guatemala.  Their clothes are gorgeous – my favorite, this wool coat!

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It’s a great fit with Kakaw Designs, and we’re excited to be part of their new store in Antigua.  They’ve experienced the same thing as us; people are asking them to sell locally.  So, why not?

Next time you’re in Antigua, find us at Vessel Boutique, located right on the Arch Street.  Come check out what we’ve got going.

Kakaw at Vessel

Kakaw at Vessel

Take a look at this post by Vessel for more awesome photos of the shop!

We’re having a sale!

Spring is here, and it’s time to celebrate with some naturally-dyed colors!

We’re also getting ready to release some really awesome new products, and the truth is we need to make space in our inventory.  So enjoy a 20% off for our Hummingbird Collection accessories – both the clutch and the scarf! Prices are reduced directly on the website, so you can check out the products there.  Valid while supplies last.

HUMMINGBIRD CLUTCH

HUMMINGBIRD CLUTCH

HUMMINGBIRD SCARF

HUMMINGBIRD SCARF

And hey, meet the wonderful weavers who carefully dyed and wove these products: