It is an interesting conundrum building a business in a world where seasonal colors, tight delivery deadlines and demanding standards for consistency collide with the alternate reality of tradition and rural life of indigenous artisans of Oaxaca and Chiapas, Mexico.
Photo shown is of Chaipan women showing their handiwork for Abrazo Style.
As Abrazo Style grows we have confronted challenges that would make any ordinary fashion apparel company lock their doors and throw away the key.
After all, it would be so much easier to just go to China to produce a blouse that would have convincing embroidery, consistency, and proper sizing. But for anyone who knows what we do, the process, the mission, and the result are intimately tied together.
Since my last post, we have taken on several very large customers whose names I don’t think I’m allowed to mention.
One of them understands our mission and has been absolutely amazing in their patience while we “figured out” how to adapt the handmade blouse they chose for their catalog into a “production” blouse with 4 sizes and a consistent embroidery design.
How hard could that be, right? Well, pretty hard, as it turns out. A different customer chose one of our totes for their high end apparel and accessories line and we were faced with reproducing EXACT designs for them on a very tight deadline. Fortunately, we were successful and the tote even made it into this month’s InStyle magazine.
As you might guess, Abrazo is evolving. Though our passion remains traveling the backroads of Mexico to discover the one-of-a-kind treasures our customers love, we are also inspired to reinvent tradition with an updated process and a line of clothing that is machine sewn, hand embroidered, and designed in 4 sizes for American bodies. So far, the ladies in Oaxaca and Chiapas love it and so do our US customers.
Our process may be evolving but women still work in their homes and their lives remain fundamentally the same with the exception that they are becoming more economically stable.
We, along with our artisans are challenged to make intimidating and unfamiliar changes in the future in order to grow, but so far we are making good progress (with the exception of some occasional VERY large bumps in the road .
Straddling two worlds, centuries apart, with a shared goal of success requires perserverance and above all, a great sense of humor.