Hello friends! Today we are auctioning a day bag on Instagram to help raise funds for learning supplies to schools in remote villages in the highlands of Guatemala. 100% of the auctioned item funds will go directly to buying the supplies listed below and Nena & Co. will match the final auction price. The information below is all in Spanish but the numbers speak for themselves at bottom this document and give you a good idea as to many items we need to buy! A LOT! But not more than we can all handle, right! We are trying to purchase supplies that help with child development while at play such as coloring books, coloring pencils, games, etc. The photos below are actual students enrolled in the schools we would like to send supplies to!
I've been working with Scoutmob.com to get a couple of Nena & Co. bags in their shop and I'm so excited to finally see them up! Scout Mob only uses artist who take part in design of the actual product that they sell. I love that they tell you a bit about the designer and the process of making the since most of us don't realize the how much love and labor that goes into handmade pieces. So shout out to Scoutmob.com and thank you!
Our Peace Pilgrim campaign is to promote all those good people out there that do good and touch the lives of others. I know there are plenty of Peace Pilgrims out there and Nena & Company wants to know and recognize them! Every month we want to hear from you and will pick a winner at the end of each month. The only stipulations are that you can not nominate yourself and the person you nominate must have an Instagram account. Send your nomination to firstname.lastname@example.org!
That being said, we are excited to announce our #nenapeacepilgrim winner for January! @meggo86 sent us a sweet email, introducing us to Rebecca & her husband, who had a 1 year old foster baby placed with them last year. When they found that his big sister also needed a home, they welcomed her to their family as well. Rebecca quit her job to fully embrace her new role as their mother. Upon finding out that their foster children's birth mother was expecting late last year, they brought home the brand new baby, taking them from 0-3 children in under a years time! We are humbled by @bexjomac's selfless & loving spirit, their willingness to create a family for these sweet siblings & wish them all the best in their desire to adopt all 3 children soon! Changing the course of these little lives is a sacrifice we greatly admire, so we are happy to announce @bexjomac as this months #nenapeacepilgrim!
Finally! The long awaited Dual Leather + Huipil clutch is here and I've been dying to share them with you. I can't go anywhere without someone stopping me to ask where I got this clutch. Its a showstopper!
The design and quality speak for itself but let me tell you about my co-designer and friend, Manuela. My mom and Manuela became friends many years ago and being an entrepreneur herself, my mom told me Manuela's story and skills and suggested I work with her.
Manuela is a survivor of the Guatemalan civil war that ran from 1960-1996. How do I summarize 36 years of genocide and corruption towards the Mayan people in a single blog post? Most people don't even know it happened! Up to 700,000 people died or went missing during the war, including 190,000 to 250,000 people who "disappeared". I think the numbers speak for themselves. The civil war left many families fatherless and without a main bread winner. But Manuela didn't let the great tragedies in her life stop her from creating a brighter future for her family and those within her reach. She used her crochet and sewing skills that she had learned as a young girl to teach widows of the war how to design and market creations to tourist. Manuela is a survivor. Manuela is a PEACE PILGRIM.
The photo below isn't the best but its the only one I could find of us working on our projects together. She's just the littlest lady you've ever met but has the biggest heart.
Nena & Co.'s doing its first GIVEAWAY ever! Don't miss out! Follow the instructions below to enter to win! Good luck!
We made it! Took a red eye out of LAX last night with Jeremy (my husband) and my Mom and Dad and made it to Guatemala City by 6am this morning. I was so excited that I the tiredness never set in until right about now. We kind of have our favorite spots picked out from previous travels here so we went straight to Antigua where we love to stay, dropped off the bags and and then were off to work - and play.
The drive to Chichicastenango was about 3 hours people! But well worth it. I was able to sort through all the beautiful Huipiles (hand-loomed tradition womens shirts) and work with my craftsmen who were ever so gracious. I'm coming out with several new styles which you'll die when you see. I can not wait to get them in my hands.
As I visited the with the boss, Donna Tomasa and Don Juan, of these craftsmen they told me that when Nena & Co placed its first order it was a blessing from God. Donna Tomasa got teary eyed and let me know that their home was burned down and they didn't know what they would do to recover their loses. Tomasa pointed to the people in the room making Nena & Co. bags and said you have given all of us work to do.
I just really wanted to share that because it put in perspective that Nena & Co. is bigger than me and you and thinking something is cute. It really is helping feed families and that motivates me more than anything. That's all for now...more to come!
I've been struggling to push myself to write on the blog. I just don't feel that excited about writing the little everyday things I have going on and I don't know that anyone else would be that interested either. Or at least I can't figure out a way to make it interesting for you. I feel kinda bad and a little embarrassed that you have to watch as I go through these growing pains of figuring out "my thing" and I've read over and over that you should write about what you know - what things you feel passionate about. Well, I'm on to my next thing!
When I started Nena & Co. it was with an admiration for the beautiful tradition of hand looming that the Maya women in Guatemala have passed down for generations. These same women have families that struggle with poverty and all the conditions of life that poverty entails and I have been toying with ways that we can all give back or help! The reality is that there are a million ways to do that and I'm going to try my hand at several projects until Nena & Co. finds the right fit or... I may just keep hopping around from project to project.
Nena & Co. is a tiny business and I get overwhelmed with the idea that we can't really make that much of a difference but then I remember the story of the starfish and how the boy helped them if only one at a time (or something like that). So that's what I'm going to focus on for now. One family at a time or even one person at a time! It will make a difference.
Here's the first of many projects; One of life's most crucial necessities is WATER! Right? Right. I can't count the amount of times my poor Aunt Lubia, who works with indigenous people of the highlands of Guatemala, has gotten sick from contaminated water she's had to drink while visiting them. Lubia's not the only one that's getting sick from the water. I learned that 1 child dies every 20 seconds some where in the world from drinking contaminated water! This is the only water that is available to some of these Maya people! Long story short, my sweet brother introduced me and my Mama to this amazing water filtration system called Lifesaver Jerrycans! The LIFESAVER® jerrycan carries 18.5 litres of water (at one time) and allows users to process up to 20,000 litres of clean sterile drinking water. By purchasing your Nena & Co. bag you have enabled us to purchase 2 of these Lifesaver Jerrycans that we will be taking to Guatemala this September and donating to families that are in need! Give yourself a good pat on the back! I am so excited about this and I can't wait to get down to Guatemala to get them in the right hands. A big thanks to Nena & Co. bag lovers every where! And stay tuned to whats next!
A little background about myself - I grew up in south south south county San Diego. The exit to our house was one of the last US exits before you got to the border line to Mexico. Needless to say I was surrounded by a diverse community where hip hop ran ramped. I was totally into it. When my husband and I talk about music influences, his are like Pearl Jam, Guns and Roses and mine were more like SWV, Boyz II Men, and Tribe Called Quest. It's music that makes you want to move! I am a coordinated person but have never been known to be a great dancer, however, I was pretty sure I had a good shot at being a "Fly Girl" dancer on the show "In Living Color." The show J-Low got her start with before she went big time! My point is, if you get what I'm saying right now, then you'll get a lot of the way I write, think and dress. If not...I think you'll catch on anyway. The 90's are back! Right?! I just can't get enough.
Oh Heather... you're a vision in those patterns and that pink! Heather is a friend and a talented independent producer with an eye for beauty. She was recently spotted at a floral workshop in LA hosted by blogger DesignLoveFest.com and she brought her Nena & Co. bag along for the fun!
PS I posted this around July 13th and may have missed the "publish" button. Sorry I've been keeping this gem to myself!
No really, Nena & Co.'s first trunk show could not have been better! We introduced 63 new styles which was fantastic because there really was something for everyone. I had to say adios to a few I had my eye on but they went to capable hands. It's weird that my heart kinda sinks, just a little, when I see a bag go because I want everyone to know how much each bag means to me. I tried to take the time to explain how each bag is made and who made them which is a big part of why I'm so passionate about Nena & Co. but there were more people than I could get to. That's a good problem!
We're back home in Southern California and its good to be back. Gearing up to get all these new weekender and day bags up on the site so ya'll have something to look at! Stay tuned....
Today was such a sweet day. I love girlfriends and I love when I can see my friends progress and grow in whatever way that may be. Sometimes growing means new babies and this sweet little baby slipped right into her mama's new Nena & Co. day bag that she says will double as her diaper bag.
PS I know the baby looks scared but I snapped a shot right in the middle of a laugh... This is him on his way to a big smile.
Jeremy (my hubby) and I are headed to Utah for his family reunion and I decided we should make the most of the trip, lug a bunch of Nena & Co. bags out there, and experiment with our first "trunk show" ever! It's called "Mi Casa Es Su Casa Nena & Co. Trunk Show"! Where you'll of course get 20% off your purchase because of the special occasion.
I'm also thrilled to announce 12 NEW styles that you'll die for! So if you are in the Utah area be sure to clear your calendar on Tuesday July 23rd from 6-9pm. I'm going to put my Abuelita (grandma) to work and have her make some yummy Guatemala dish...or I'll at least use her recipe.
See you there!
Today my sister-in-law Whitney, a total babe who I'm cray cray for, helped me with a special project we're working on. My hair is a little hint. Know any famous Mexican ladies with a similar 'do'? There actually might be a lot of them but she's the most famous. I decided I'm officially a bag lady after looking at this photo.
Look at that hair! I'm sure there are a lot of ladies out there that think their mom is perfect. I'm in the club too. Born and raised in Guatemala City, she met and married my sweet dad and they moved to the USA. New language, new family, new country and she was still able to draw from her creative juices and blossom into a daring entrepreneur.
Being around my mom and learning from her has inspired me to start Nena & Company. Lucky for me, since she's my mom, she basically had to sign on as a business partner. I know at some point we're suppose to "cut the umbilical cord" but why ruin a beautiful thing.
Ok, maybe they aren't beach bags but that's exactly what I use my Nena & Co. Weekender Bag for. It ends up holding anything I could possibly need for a beach day except the chair and umbrella, but you could almost fit a small child in there. Don't do the child thing. And yes, I'm wearing a mu'mu' from Guatemala. I'm obsessed with all the colorful textiles from there and not only that, its the most comfortable dress I've ever worn in my life...in public.
Meet my lady friends Sarah and Lori. A girl couldn't ask for better friends with great style and awesome support. They live close by and wanted to be my first customers and my first customer they are! XOXO
Again, sometimes it's hard to see the detail on these beautiful bags and I would never want the meticulously loomed weave to be mistaken for a detailed print. That's like comparing an original painting to a print...it'll never compare. Lets get up close and personal. #nofilter #brilliantcolor
Day bag vs Weekender bag...the age old question. What to do, what to do? In all honesty, if it were me buying the bags (which is the scenario I was in before I started Nena & Co.) and if I HAD to choose; hands down the Weekender!
Its so hard to tell how great they are through a computer screen but they are the ultimate way to travel in style. Maybe you won't use it everyday but you'll sure be happy the next time you road trip it or use it as your carry on and get the stare of jealousy from all the other girls on the plane.
Have you ever seen that movie Vicky Cristina Barcelona by Woody Allen? It's mildly scandalous but more quirky than weird. There is a part where "Cristina" realizes her circle of friends are all artist and she finds herself frustrated that she has no talent to show who she truly is. Cristina later feels so inspired by her peers that eventually she finds a medium to express herself. I get how she feels. ALL of my friends seem to have these talents that are not only praiseworthy but marketable too (who I'll feature on this blog from time to time). I've been considering opening this boutique for years but have felt too intimidated to do so until one day I thought "why not." I literally could not think of a single reason, so, here we are and I have a good feeling about it. I'm not a great writer. I'm not even a good one but guess what? I'm going to blog the crap out of this site.
Below is a shot by Russ & Reyn taken for our wedding in 2012. Check out their website you'll get what I mean by talented. I can't get enough of this time of my life. I like to call this one "Married to a Mystery."