Consumers today are placing increasing importance on the values and stories behind the brands they shop from. As such, a brand’s founders and journey to entrepreneurship are just as important as the products they sell. Today, we’re giving you a glimpse into some of those stories by spotlighting five members of our Latino-owned business community on Faire. Learn more about the entrepreneurs behind the brands that are leaving their distinctive mark on the world of jewelry, home decor, and more.
A Cuban immigrant who came to the United States at the age of 12, Nancy Brook started Pichincha (pronounced “pee-chen-cha”) in the flea markets of Miami, Florida. After successfully expanding into the trade show, gift shop, and wholesale industry, Nancy passed the torch to her daughter, Michelle Brook, who now runs the business with her sisters, Melissa Brook Codias and Linda Brook.
From stunning wooden hair accessories with natural stones to woven finger puppets, worry doll boxes, dog collars, flutes, tote bags, and notebooks, Pichincha’s catalog is brimming with must-have gifts and one-of-a-kind keepsakes. Named after an active stratovolcano in the heart of the Andes in Ecuador, Pichincha brings the “spirit, mysteries, and essence” of the area to anyone lucky enough to own one of its artisan-made offerings.
Born near Casupo mountain in Valencia, Venezuela, Luz Zambrano inherited a sense of respect and responsibility for nature early on. Fifteen years of experience at brands like New Balance and Fila provided her with a global leather education, helped her realize the vast impact of small choices, and inspired her to start her own brand, CASUPO, which she now runs from Long Beach, California.
For it to be easier for customers to make a difference, Luz incorporated sustainability from the beginning and strongly believes that “fashion can be gorgeous and good for you.” Luz and her team rescue unused leathers and source sustainable options from gold-rated tanneries to create supple wallets, elevated fanny packs, cross-body bags, belts, catch-all trays, toiletry bags, and more. A portion of all profits are donated to Fundanica, a nonprofit near Valencia dedicated to helping children in need of cancer treatments.
Born in Santiago de Cali, Colombia, Tulianna Garcés has a uniquely global background: Her Russian grandmother raised her Iran-born mother in Austria, and her Spanish-Colombian father grew up in Scotland. Now settled in the countryside of Vermont, Tulianna founded Belart in 2006 with her daughters, Alex and Dany, along with her partner and mother-in-law, Cecilia.
Each piece of Belart jewelry is a collaborative, community effort. Tulianna works with local artisans in Vietnam and Colombia who have been displaced by violence to create unique, sustainable jewelry from materials like upcycled horn, vintage lace, and tagua seed (also known as “vegetable ivory”). Through Fair Trade practices, every Belart purchase connects disadvantaged producers to global markets, empowering them while sustaining their livelihoods, their families, and the future of their communities.
The Blooming Palm
Based out of Puerto Rico, Cristina Guerra and her family founded The Blooming Palm to share the beauty of their island with the world. One of their favorite hometown features is the palm frond: a symbol of peace and a tangible reminder of Puerto Rico’s rustic beauty. These palms fall naturally from the trees and are handpicked with care, cleaned, hand-cut, and painted by the Guerra family.
Cristina’s unique products are large, statement-making palm fronds naturally dried under the Caribbean sun. The fronds range in size from about 14 inches to three feet and can be popped into vases or used in displays to add a touch of natural Puerto Rican elegance to any home, party, or event. Cristina’s husband was raised by a single mom, and 10% of all Blooming Palm proceeds go to single moms in 15 countries through the Young Lives program.
Liz Soto Handbags
Liz Soto has been a handbag designer for almost three decades, with shoppers across the United States enjoying her unique styles at work, out on the town, and every minute in between. Liz runs her business from Santa Monica, California, and is known for working with beautiful colors and rich materials that look and feel luxurious—without the exorbitant price tag.
Liz’s designs are stylish and functional, and most can be worn in multiple ways. One easily transitions to a backpack or crossbody; another’s color can be reversed when you need a quick change; another comes with a smaller bag that can be used on its own or inside the other. She always works with vegan leather, adds special details, and makes sure there’s ample interior storage for everyday necessities.