If you haven’t already cancelled your subscription to 2021, it’s probably time to dust off your notebook and jot down some goals for the year. For those of you who are newer to intention setting, they can be simple like: spend more socially distanced time with friends, or let The Salty or El Bagel miss you a bit. Maybe you’ve decided 2021 is without a doubt your year- full speed ahead. Wherever you are on the manifestation spectrum, we believe that creating the right environment for your future success makes all the difference. Here’s a few of our favorite ways to set the tone for growth and contentment this year.
Create an Uplifting Environment
With many of us spending 99% of our lives at home, it is more important than ever to love our spaces. Keep your home office full of fresh flowers and a pop of color with our neon, translucent Mondri Vase. Inner peace is sometimes only a quick switch away with our LED Acrylic Buddha Lamp. It’s pretty OM-mazing if you ask us. Lose the boring, plain white walls and add some art! Some of our faves are these Andy Warhol Flowered Skateboards or this The Time Is Now print.
If 2020 was difficult to process, we’ve now entered 2020 2.0. Seriously, it never hurts to write down some less than positive thoughts and let that ish go! Journaling has been proven to help you move powerfully towards your dreams and aspirations so, why not do it in style? Crank up your creativity with our Frida Khalo Idlewild Notebook. If you are absolutely over it, but still have some interesting ideas worth remembering, this recycled, leatherbound, 256-page Bang Head Here Journal may be your new favorite place to brain dump. For everyday ideas and aha napkin notes, this Mermaid Jumbo Deskpad is perfect.
Learning Something New
Is your mind feeling a little stale from too much doom scrolling? There’s never been a better time to unplug from our phones and the endless flow of negative news. We are loving Goodbye Phone, Hello World- a guide on how to feel empowered by not picking up your cell 150 times a day, while reconnecting to simple pleasures like nature and other humans. If finally learning how to cook is on your 2021 to-do list, don’t miss Dorothy Iannone’s Cookbook: A real book of recipes full of visual delights, and filled with wit, wordplay, and idiosyncratic thoughts.
Breathe In The Good Vibes
Transport yourself to simpler times with this bergamot, citrus, tonka, and sandalwood combo, timely named: Make Love Not War. Feel the peace for 50+ hours of drama free burn time. If you need a reminder of the goddess you truly are, our I Am Divine Amethyst Crystal Candle has your name on it. With a plantable wildflower seed paper dust cover, and enclosed amethyst crystal, think of this sweetly scented candle as the gift that keeps giving. Drift away to somewhere tropical with our coconut wax, limoncello splash, quince, and blushed prosecco scented Sunshine Spritz Candle from Homesick.
Refresh Your Style
If you’ve escaped the ‘sweatpants only’ life for at least a day, you probably felt the slightest increase of confidence, put togetherness, or perhaps just got the opportunity to wash and dry your go-to quarantine uniform. While we’re not suggesting you ditch loosely fitting cotton blend perfection, we’re just saying, you have options while keeping it chic. For the guys, we’re crushing hard on this Duvin Black Umbrella Shirt and versatile Swim Shorts. For the ladies, you can never go wrong with Spiritual Gangster’s uplifting graphic tops, and specifically, the Be The Light Muscle Tank, Higher Vibes Crop Tank, or Trust The Universe Chakra Tank.
Intentions often materialize with frequent reminders and accountability. Wear your mantra on your wrist with this black and gold Be Happy Beaded Bracelet by Brooklyn-based Venessa Arizaga. Commit to giving back while making a statement with this There’s No Planet B tote. Each bag is made by female weavers from Bangladesh and each purchase helps them access medical and financial resources to improve their social standing.
We hope to see you at Frangipani soon and that you join our #FrangiFamily sooner than later. Don’t forget to pick up your Make Wynwood Fun Again Blue Hat and sport it around Miami or whatever other city you call home. So, set some big goals, give it your best, and believe that the best is truly yet to come in 2021.
Last Minute Holiday Gifts For Everyone On Your List
The Countdown to Christmas is officially here and we know that half of you still haven’t started shopping for your top 3 favorite people. It happens to the best of us far more often than we’d like to admit. You know, making your list, checking it twice, getting stuck in traffic on the way to the mall for the 3rd time. Hard pass. Here’s a not so new idea: Shop local, avoid the lines, and if you live in Miami, we’ll hand deliver your order from Frangipani in time for Christmas, just because we love you so much. So, get browsing! We’ve rounded up our top gift picks by person to make the rest of your holiday prep as breezy as a warm, sunny, Miami Winter day.
The Man in your life
You’d think we’d be over it by now, but when Miami-based Mavrans launched their newest men’s tie dye collection, we were immediately hooked and came back for thirds. With 100% organic pima cotton, and each design as original as your thumbprint, one or two of these will be perfect for that week between Christmas and New Years where anything goes! Heading to the beach? Get him the Swim Shorts you actually want him to wear. Whether he’s more of a solids, stripes, or palm tree print kind of guy, OAS Swim Shorts will make for an easy win. If you’re feeling extra sweet and he’s in need of some extra style, go for a Mono Monochrome Watch in one of six colors.
The Lady with Style and Grace
2021 should undoubtedly be the year of putting self-care first, ya feel? Treat your leading lady, best friend, mama, or sister to an abundant dose of antioxidant bliss with Vitamin C or Caffeine-boosted Facemasks from Baja Zen. Toss in a couple of vitamin and essential oil infused Musee Bath Bombs and complete their journey to inner peace and relaxation with a Nailed It Manicure Kit to leave her feeling like her best self. For the ultimate dose of comfort and cozy, this Mamas Knit Throw Blanket is the perfect movie night and Netflix-marathon companion.
The Boss you Actually Like
Because many of us have been glued to our home offices this season, it’s even more important that these spaces are as functional as they are fabulous. Start off by reminding the world’s greatest boss what great leader they are with our “Out of Answers”, “Nope” or “Girl Boss” Deskplates. For those 4pm meetings with corporate that could have been emails, show some moral support with this Porcelain Spirit Eye second cup of coffee/ wine mug and don’t worry; we’ll never ask. And since can you never have enough candles, our Lavender Mimosa Wabi Sabi Candle is hand-poured and comes in a reusable ceramic bowl for cereal or leftovers later.
Your Work Wife or Office Bestie
This person has been your lifesaver since day one on the job and is somehow the hardest to shop for. Solution found. Gift them a Power to The People Tech Kit for when you need to borrow their charger in the near future. Offer them some stylish back support or naptime must-have with our Peruvian Pom-Pom Pillow and make sure they’re helping the office stay safe with this comfortable, layered Superwoman Mask.
Lastly, whoever was lucky enough to be in your inner circle this year, probably deserves the utmost admiration and a sweet gift as well. For the one who always had a fun indoor adventure planned, our Moma Designed, 2-in-1 Chess and Checkers Set is the perfect choice. To thank the ultra-positive one, why not a Scandinavian designed Fun Message Board to post their favorite quotes and inside jokes on? And what’s a little quarantine without a couple of drinks? Gift the intellectual who always has the best ‘cheers’ our set of 4 Mark Twain Shot Glasses, and guarantee a good time over the holidays.
We hope you find everything on your wishlist this year and are here to help! Looking for something specific? Send us a DM on Instagram and we’ll be happy to help you finish up your shopping on a unique and stylish note. Don’t forget, Frangipani delivers in the Greater Miami Area from now until December 23rd.
If you’re not settled into the spirit of the holiday season yet, we totally get it. This year has been a whirlwind of craziness and we too are wondering when all will just be merry and bright. Luckily for you, our Frangipani Elves have been working tirelessly to curate all the many gifts and surprises to add a little joy to your home or a loved one’s stocking. If you’re local, swing by our Wynwood location and safely browse our shelves while taking in the sweet scents of balsam and fir. Out of town or staying home for the foreseeable future? We offer local Miami delivery and also ship. Either way, your Christmas/ Hanukkah/ Kwanza holiday dreams are about to come true.
One thing 2020 has gifted many of us, is some extra time to be with our thoughts and hopefully jot down a dream or two. We all know that person who carries a different notepad/ journal for each area of their life. You know, day-to-day to do’s, work notes and client requests, somewhere to write down all the amazing things they’ll manifest in 2021. Our Frangipani Journals are here for all of it. For the art lover on your list, our Art is Like Journal is perfect for bullet journaling while our Chasing Dreams Journal is lined, stylish, pink, and just waiting for some ‘me time’. Don’t miss our ‘skinny journals’ like the Deep Dark Secrets Journal that slips effortlessly into any beach bag.
Whether they’re decorating the coffee table you’ve had your feet up on for the last 10 months, or actually being read to take your mind off the day-to-day, we can all agree that books make a world of a difference. How about a deep dive into plant medicine and overall wellness? We’ve got you covered with Merry Jane’s: Wellness, The CBD Solution. And while you’re improving your life and living it to the fullest, go ahead and jump into Feck Perfuction, a solution oriented approach to the ‘business of life’. Don’t forget your business bestie’s new bible: Super Maker: Crafting Business on Your Own Terms.
Home is where the candles are burning bright, and what would the holidays be like if your 600 sq. foot condo (or Star Island six bedroom) didn’t smell like a winter wonderland? Being ‘home for the holidays’ undoubtedly hits different this year, so spruce up your space with our Green Mercury Glass Candle that carries notes of Mistletoe Leaves, Sandalwood, and Vanilla Bean for hours. Stay in control, powerful, and balanced with our crystal infused Kundalini Candles which smell like heaven and each have a keepsake crystal after that slow burn. Since home-sweet-home is where we’ll all be-stay-be, you may opt for our Amber and musk fave: Ortigia Ambra Nera Candle with an extra long burn time and sultry design. Don’t forget your Let’s Party Matches!
Speaking of hardly leaving the house, why don’t you give your Netflix marathons a rest and join your quaranteam for some good, wholesome, fun. Fancy a puzzle? We recommend starting with our guilty pleasure: The Champagne Problems Puzzle. It’s just as boozy as it sounds and even better when paired with some rose bubbly and old school Mariah Carey Christmas Jams. If you’re opting for travel this season, bring along our new Leather Travel Backgammon Set for fun on the go. Literally can’t with any of it? Order some Uber Eats and get going on this Rise and Shine Puzzle aka the most glorious brunch spread #holidaybaking.
Staying home? Going out? Wearing masks doesn’t mean we’ve stopped accessorizing. From dainty gold pieces to colorful statement jewelry, Frangipani is worth the visit. For the bold, and bright lady on your list, shop these Lido Hoops, which were handmade in Guatemala and beaded to perfection. For the strong one, who somehow has kept it together this year, swoop this gold Fuerte Necklace to remind her she’s doing a great job. Bring someone on your list some buena suerte with these adorable Meridian Avenue Pave Horseshoe Studs.
Christmas Decor & More Gifts
If there were ever a year to keep your Christmas decorations up a little longer, it’s good ol’ 2020! Bring the Miami vibes to your home with these festive Pineapple and Watermelon ornaments. Keep your kids entertained for hours with this giant Christmas Poster with Stickers. And lastly, fill up those stockings with something you know they’ll love- a Frangipani Gift Card!
We hope you’re having a great December so far and look forward to seeing you at the store or on our fulfillment ‘good list’ soon. Don’t forget, we deliver anywhere in the Greater Miami Area and ship Nationwide. Get your orders in early for guaranteed Christmas Delivery.
Is it just us, or do you love how artistic and colorful Miami is year round? From South Beach, to Sunny Isles, to Wynwood and everywhere in between, Miamians and the brands they create have become more diverse than ever. Maybe it’s our Latin infusion or the worldly appreciation our residents encompass. Perhaps it’s the fact that while we’re in mid-November, our temperatures remain in the eighties and all we can think about is freely vacationing again one day.
Whether you’re our neighbor or love visiting Miami, we hope you choose to buy local and continue supporting our homegrown fashion heros this holiday season. Below are some of our favorite Miami Brands, who just so happen to have a special dedicated corner in-store and online at Frangipani. Happy Shopping friends!
A local lifestyle and swimwear brand, designed to showcase creativity and unique views on life, all while making the earth a better place. All designs are brightly colored, hand-drawn, and made from recycled materials like coconut husks and water bottles- so Miami, we know! Owner and founder Michael, is committed to giving back and regularly does so through beach clean ups and by providing school uniforms to those in need. Shop Mavrans this season at Frangipani or at his Aventura Mall Pop-up.
We’re obsessed with this dainty, affordable, and easily wearable jewelry line for women. Born and raised in Miami, local owner Lauren Turchin creates high end pieces for less. Every lady on your list will love her collections ranging from celestial, colored enamel, pearl and sea, and even the evil eye jewelry. From simple pieces to your unique statement pieces, you can find everything you want within Meridian Ave.
Animal lovers, you are in luck! We know your favorite furry friend has a personality all their own and artist/ fashion designer Valera Krasavina has found a way to highlight all their uniqueness through custom illustrations, prints and accessories. Inspired by the quirky personality of her own French Bulldog named Rabby, Valeria has created Fine Frenchie during a hiatus from the fashion industry. An idea that started with a small series of drafts soon blossomed into a full passion project full of different characters and, of course, lots and lots of pink. Who doesn’t want a custom portrait of their very best friend this season?
We’re a little (okay a lot) sad we won’t get to indulge in Art Basel this year and all of the artist’s beautifully showcased work. With that being said, Frangipani is proud to house the work of some of the greats, like AMLgMTED; a Miami-based collaborative studio established by Laz Ojalde and Natalie Zlamalova. Their work was recently featured at Levi’s Haus, Miami, FL and the Untitled Art Fair, Art Basel, Miami Beach, FL. We’re huge fans of their quirky points of view and clever use of unusual and overlooked materials. Keep an eye out for their WEBSTR stools on your next visit.
WYNWOOD COLORING BOOK
Did anyone not yet tap into their inner Picasso this year? There’s still time while paying homage to 44 of Miami’s favorite street artists such as Aquarela, Claudia la Bianca, Trek 6, Didi, Freaky Kiss, Kazilla, Marcus Blake, Chris Pyrate, Renda Writer, and SkottMarsi, to name a few. The Wynwood Coloring Book is a delightful escape for the Miami Local or aspiring Wynwood Visitor. Need another reason to love it? Owner, Diego, is so big on giving back that when you buy one, they give a textbook for free to a child in need.
If you’re looking to keep it sexy and smelling delicious, you’ve met your match. From the packaging, to using wooden wicks for that extra long burn time, we’re obsessed. This local candle, diffuser, and hand sanitizer purveyor offers scents like: peppermint eucalyptus, bittersweet symphony, and tropical escape as well as their use of all natural fragrances and essential oils. Name a better gift for anyone on your list… we’ll wait.
We can’t wait to help you shop this year and are confident we have something special for everyone on your list. Don’t miss the fun at Frangipani during Shop Small Weekend: November 27th-29th, in store at 2239 NW 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33127.
Although much of 2020 has been challenging, we refuse to overlook the good in our local Wynwood Community. Behind every colorfully curated building, are teams of incredible people who keep this slice of our city vibrantly alive for all to enjoy.
We don’t take for granted the many sacrifices all have had to endure either. Unfortunately, we’ve seen some of our beloved small business neighbors leave us these past few months. Yet, we have also welcomed some new, exciting dining and shopping concepts with open arms.
One thing is for sure. When we support and celebrate small, local businesses, they get to stay put and provide jobs and provisions for our neighborhoods. This holiday season, we truly hope you choose to shop and spend within the communities you love. Here are a handful of our top picks for seasonal (and anytime) shopping in Wynwood.
BASE is a dedicated men's boutique featuring emergent and established brands that marry street culture with utility and fashion. With over 30 years in Miami beginning on Lincoln Road in 1989, this hip men’s fashion haven is the perfect spot to shop for clothing, footwear, accessories, cologne, and more this year.
MVM is one of our favorite locally owned, women’s clothing stores in the area carrying all the classics with a Wynwood Edge. If the ladies on your shopping list are into chic, stylish, and designer clothing and accessories, swing by.
Nomad Tribe has been a neighborhood staple for socially conscious, fair-trade, and upcycled clothing and accessories for men and women for years. We love their Green Nomad Project which gives you 20% off your order when you recycle your older clothing with them. Gift shopping while preserving the planet sounds good to us!
Basico stands out as one of Wynwood’s best kept secrets for stylish, yet laid back menswear. Locally owned and operated by Francesco Cianci, this colorful and thoughtfully curated shop has something to offer every man from Miami to Madrid. From board shorts, to dress shirts and head turning streetwear, stop by Basico.
Pitusa has been turning heads in Wynwood and beyond since 2010. After it’s female founders decided to create clothing that empowered women, while offering a lighthearted aesthetic that transitions from beach to street, we’ve all come to love the highly recognizable Pitusa look. Shop this boutique for the fashion forward, ethically conscious, travel loving lady on your list.
Aviator Nation hails from Venice, CA, and we couldn’t be happier to welcome this casually cool spot to our Wynwood neighborhood. #Sweatslife is not going anywhere in our opinion, and these colorful lifestyle sets for men, women, and kids will carry your favorite giftees from the beach, to the slopes or let’s be real, hanging out with their favorite home quaranteam.
Frangipani is locally owned and operated, and has been serving Wynwood’s ever changing landscape for over 8 years and couldn’t be more appreciative to be a part of it all. We’ve recently stocked up on new clothing, candles, ornaments, accessories, and self care products galore. Come shop with us this holiday season for thoughtfully curated, globally conscious gifts for women, men, children and housewares this holiday season.
We hope you’ll join us at Frangipani and at many of our favorite local small businesses around Wynwood during Shop Small Weekend, November 27th-29th.
It's time to start searching for a back to school supplies list for 2020! You might be wondering what that even looks like. Most kids started the school year virtually, which is no easy experience, neither for kids or their parents. There are so many issues to keep track of like wifi difficulties, whether or not your child can see and hear their teacher, and maintaining focus among many others. The most glaring issue of them all is finding the right back to school supplies list for the 2020 school year. We know it can be difficult figuring all of this out on your own, so we've put together a list of back to school tips and essentials to relieve some of that anxiety.
At Frangipani, we want to help you put the fun into school, with playful & colorful supplies and accessories to brighten your student's day. Here are some tips and supplies from us:
1.Take Lots of Notes!
Composition Books from Mr. Boddington's Studio come in a variety of patterns to brighten up your child's day. Snakes, ice cream, mermaids, how to decide? Pick up one for each class! These notebooks are made in the USA, with a perfect binding of wide ruled pages
The 7 Year Pen from Seltzer Goods was designed to keep plastic out of landfills and to make us smile! One pen holds enough ink to write a line 4 to 5 kilometers long, and it's refillable! So we can feel good about all those doodles we make!
2. Stay organized and don't forget anything
Bando academic agendas are filled with fun, with stickers, cool art, compliments, a postcard, and more. In addition, the planners cover August 2020 through December 2021 to get your child through this school year and into the next.
3. Be ready to get up and go-school could switch to in person anytime!
Backpacks from State Bags are cool and will keep our kids organized and ready for in-person learning. Each bag includes a protective laptop sleeve, outer pockets for quick access items, side pockets for water bottles, and plenty of room for lots of books. In addition, we can feel good about carrying a State backpack because they give back to American schoolchildren in need all year long through their program, Carry for a Cause.
Make this school year fun and productive! Shop Frangipani and add some color to your kid's world with products that we can all feel good about. Finally, now you have your back to school supplies list for 2020! Now your little valedictorian is set to take on the school year with confidence!
Let’s be honest, life has been a bit of a roller coaster in 2020. We've experienced a great deal of disruption in our normal lives, causing unease for most of us, and making it difficult to decompress and find ways to cope with stress. However, it is crucial, now more than ever, to find ways to relax and ease our minds of the many adversities that we've faced in 2020.
With this in mind, we've put together a list of the 5 best ways to relieve stress in 2020, along with a few products that will help you find some relief from the stress, anxiety, and tension of the seemingly new norm.
One of our favorite fitness and mental health practices is yoga. Not only is yoga an amazing stress reliever, it's something that can be done in the comfort of your own home. In case you might need a little guidance, some of the best local Miami yoga studios have classes available online. In fact, one of our favorite classes is Ahana Yoga's Ahana Now, offering sessions at any time for just $19.99 per month or $199 a year. Now that you have an amazing class to attend, all you need is the right comfy yoga gear. Luckily for you we have a great selection from yoga lifestyle brand Spiritual Gangster, which donates a portion of its proceeds to Feeding America, Cambodian Children's Fund, Make-A-Wish and Phoenix Children's Hospital.
Granted mediation on its own is self healing, you can make your practice more alert and wakeful when you're mindfully communicating with nature. In your free time take a blanket to a park, beach, or just your backyard and enjoy your enhanced sense of relaxation. Empty your mind. Bring a snack. It helps!
Though there are many types of journaling methods that you can do to express your thoughts, our current favorite is gratitude journaling. If you're feeling thankful, write it down. It's great for your mental health. We find that focusing on the positive pushes away the negative. Each day write about 5 things that you are grateful for. It can be as simple as the perfect cup of coffee. Our collection of journals are each unique in their own right! So, whether you're wanting to express your gratitude or simply jot down some bad ideas, we've got you covered.
An interesting read that we've been into is 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World, by Elif Shafak. Our current societal climate has caused many people to feel isolated. As well documented, reading has been known to put our brains into a state similar to meditation. Furthermore, reading allows us to put ourselves in someone else's shoes granting us a new interpretation of reality. We offer a great variety of books ranging from political and self growth literature to satirical literature and coloring books!
Aromatherapy is a holistic healing treatment that uses natural elements to promote health and well-being. The list of health benefits are seemingly endless. Also, it's always nice to take in a deep breath of fresh and 'smell-good' air. Many of the fragrances in our store are made of natural products, as we're conscious of their health and environmental benefits! In addition, we also carry saches that are filled with natural ingredients to give your clothes a wonderful fragrance.
Let's tackle this journey together. Now that you have the 5 best ways to relieve stress in 2020, give a few of these a try and comment on our post with your biggest takeaway from your experience. Share our blog post with a friend, and let's take on the rest of 2020 together, stress free! :)
For Frangipani’s second blog feature on Colombian designers, I spoke to Tita Navia, founder and president of Mishky, a line of beautiful beaded jewelry made by artisans in Colombia.
Navia has always believed in the uniqueness of Colombian artisanship, and from the beginning she knew she wanted to export Mishky’s products on a global scale. “We didn’t start our Colombian branch just for the people, we started [it] for the world,” Navia explained. “In the beginning we wanted to export… and to expand to the markets in the US and Europe. So we started participating in trade shows in New York, and in our third year, we went to Paris.” Their first trade shows in Paris weren’t immediately a hit, but in a short amount of time, Mishky was able to refine the brand and their marketing strategy, and they became quite successful. “The first couple years were finding ourselves... but then when we figured that out and we consolidated the designs, it was great, the reception was very good.”
It was the discovery of Mishky’s true design core that ultimately led to their success as a business (that and their dedication to fair labor - but we’ll get to that later). “Happy, friendly and colorful” are the three words in which Mishky finds inspiration. Navia explained that they “play with those variables all the time. Everything here is so full of life and energetic, so we try to reflect all that in our collections.” The greatest thing about Colombia is that there is a constant source of great inspiration everywhere you turn. “There’s always nature, and there’s alway color. Because we have the Pacific Ocean, we have the Atlantic Ocean, we live surrounded by nature all the time, and these people live in different places and develop their own things that come from nature, so nature is a part of our DNA.” That, coupled with Colombia’s artisanal heritage, helps ensure that Mishky always has new and creative designs. Navia explained how necessary it is to really look around and observe the other artisans in Colombia, even just in town or on the streets. “In Colombia, you see amazing things, so we look at that all the time.”
And Mishky is a brand like any other; they have collections for every season, including Spring/Summer, Fall/Winter and Holiday. But with a strong base in colorful designs, Navia joked that it can be a bit frustrating when Fall/Winter collections come around. “We’re more of a summer line, so we always complain about Fall/Winter like ‘Ugh, now we have to make our colors a bit darker.’” Although the jewelry on Mishky’s website still exhibits beautiful colors for Fall/Winter, they may be a bit subdued. But there is one saving grace… “there are always resorts!”
One of the greatest things about Mishky, besides their beautiful and colorful jewelry, is their dedication to fair compensation and constant support for their workers. Mishky has developed a program called “My Mom for Me,” and it is another reason Frangipani loves the brand so much - there is so much detailed work going into each piece of merchandise, but there is also so much good coming back to the artisans from each purchase.
When Mishky was initially looking for workers in Colombia, Navia tried to provide work “in areas where the opportunities for work are not that great.” Shortly thereafter, the My Mom for Me program was created. It has been a great way to uplift women in Colombian communities and provide jobs which real mothers can complete in their own homes. “What [this program] means is that the mother has the opportunity– we usually work with mothers, often single mothers– and with us they have the opportunity to be able to work from home.” And not only do these mothers work from home, they are also given flexible working hours to schedule themselves when it best suits them: “the rules we have are very simple, they have to work at least four hours a day, which is half-time, and then from four hours, they can decide if they want to work five, six or up to eight…. They can work whenever it fits them better– they can take their children to school, they can make lunch, they can work at night a little bit.” The most important thing is that these women are able to be mothers and artisans without too challenging an overlap of the two; it’s a sustainable career for young mothers, a rare find in our current working world.
Now of course, with such a unique program allowing artisans to work out of the comfort of their own homes, some additional due diligence is necessary to ensure that the workers have safe and comfortable working environments. Navia has been adamant that this could not be overlooked, in order to sustain Mishky’s commitment to their employees and fair labor. This due diligence means having the artisans’ eyes checked and paying for glasses if needed, sending appropriate tools to help the workers be more efficient and just checking in with them on a regular basis in a casual way. “We say like ‘Hey, how are you working? Where are you working?’... and we try to also learn with them what is more comfortable, so that they have good conditions working at home.” Mishky also helps them adjust things as subtle as lighting or seat position, just another way to ensure their workers are comfortable and content.
And what makes Mishky even more unique and meaningful? Their extensive training program which is dedicated to helping women who may never have beaded before, but are eager to try. “With us they become artisans; they learn something new.” And although some of the women who Mishky trains go off and start their own small businesses, or copy some of Mishky’s designs, Navia says it doesn’t bother her and that it’s okay. Because at the end of the day, some of the women stay with Mishky and move up the ladder themselves, which is as meaningful as anything. “We have three cases of those mothers that were able to be with their kids and work from home when they were growing up, and now that the kids are going to college and they’re grown up taking care of themselves, these women have been able to grow within the company… Those ladies are amazing, and I’m proud of these people who now have managerial skills, and they have been able to be successful with us.”
It’s a mark of true success in my mind when a company offers their workers the ability to learn and move up in positions. As Navia put it, “that has been one of the things that has given me the most satisfaction, being able to find these women and give them the opportunity to fly higher.” Mishky proves itself to be yet another purchase you can feel good about, and Frangipani is proud to sell their products.
On a different note, when the Covid-19 pandemic came up in conversation, I was surprised to hear that Mishky had fared quite well, one might say they did even more than just ‘survive’ during the pandemic, because with new creative collections and many of their workers already working from home, Mishky was able to find ways to keep their workers working, and sales from their online store didn’t dwindle. During the quarantine, the brand released a ‘Solidarity’ bracelet collection in which they took words and phrases such as ‘courage,’ ‘hope’ and ‘resilience’ and had their artisans bead those words into the bracelets to spread good vibes in Mishky’s community. And then, when they began to reopen again, Mishky came out with their Rainbow collection which “was like the light after the storm.” Just in time for pride month, these colorful pieces are fun, whimsical and beautiful - a fantastic way to show your pride.
On these new designs, Navia explained that “The effort that we did to keep relevant to our customers and our designs, was really special,” and it made them feel good not only to be able to pay their workers in a time of need, but also to contribute hopefully to the overall emotional wellbeing of the community.
So, what’s next for the brand? Navia says, “I just hope now that when I retire, I will have somebody to continue the company and take it to the next level - that’s my hope now. That’s what I’m looking for - someone to continue with Mishky.” I think it’s safe to say the past of Mishky has been laid out well enough to prepare it for a bright future.
At Frangipani, one of our most beloved Colombian brands is Susu Accessories. We love being a part of their incredible business and mission (and the beautiful bags, of course!). As a part of our blog’s mini-series on Frangipani’s Colombian brands, I had the opportunity to interview Laura McMahon, one of the partners of Susu Accessories. She and I spoke last week about Susu, the Wayúu artisans behind the bags, and their dedication to being fair trade. Read on to learn about this amazing organization, and how they became a worldwide brand.
Susu Accessories began about eight years ago, when the founders Zulima Anaya and Nadia Roberts decided that they had to get the beautiful hand-knitted bags of the Wayúu tribe of La Guajira, Colombia into the world. About a year later, Laura McMahon joined them, a cousin to one of the founders and a lover of Susu’s mission. McMahon and her cousin grew up around the Wayúu tribe, so they knew their beautiful designs since childhood. When they decided they would like to see some of these products in the US fashion market, the first goal was to contact the tribe and to gain their trust. “Working with an indigenous community, it’s not like you can just call and say ‘Hey, can I have 50 bags made and have them shipped to you- it’s not like that” she continued, citing how they had contact with a friend in Colombia with Wayúu family who helped them reach the community. “[The Wayúu] need to know you; they need to trust you. For them it’s about respect. It’s a completely different way of handling business - having someone who was a part of the community was very helpful.”
At first they began with only original Wayúu designs, but as they moved forward, they realized they could create their own designs for the Wayúu knitters by partnering with different Colombian (and later, international) designers. When choosing those designers, they must be just as committed to Susu’s mission as the founders. “It’s about staying true to the Wayúu roots and being able to showcase what they do.”
The Wayúu designs are not only beautiful, but incredibly unique and complex in their nature. “The way that the Wayúu design, the way that they get inspired, is by everything that surrounds them.” Examples include designs based on the head of a fly or even the stripes of a cow. But how does Susu keep this in mind when creating designs for the bags? “We create our own Susu design, but in consultation with them; they always have some kind of Wayúu base… we don’t want to lose the Wayúu soul.” Another way in which Susu is able to accomplish this is by leaving the knitters free to design the bottoms of each bag. McMahon said “our knitters are very specialized, and they can replicate a design very well, but all of the bottoms of the bags are free for them to design. So every single bag is going to have a different bottom, and that’s the inspiration of the knitter who made it. It’s almost like a signature; that’s where you get the information about the knitter.”
Essential to Susu Accessories is being a fair-trade certified organization, and they are dedicated to this mission. At the moment, Susu works “directly with the 350 women of the Wayúu tribe ; they’re all women heads of households. [Susu] provides them with materials, training, and they can work at their own pace… By working with Susu they are able to provide for their families, get something stable and get paid fair wages.” I can tell how proud McMahon is of being able to say this; it’s another reason that so many of Susu’s employees are dedicated to the mission. Fair-trade is something you can feel good about on every level, from the employer to the employee to the manufacturer and the consumer.
But there’s still many companies to be wary of, according to McMahon. “It’s incredible to see how many companies claim to be fair trade and they’re not.” In order to know that a company is fair trade, McMahon said that they really have to be certified. Susu Accessories is “fair trade certified by Chicago Fair-Trade,” McMahon stated. She then continued, “that tells you that there’s no child labor, that they pay fair wages, that what you do is not hurting the environment and that you’re providing liveable, dignified jobs for the artisans who make the products.” Fair-trade products can be more expensive to produce, between transportation and manufacturing costs and paying workers fairly. Susu Accessories stands out as one brand that has actually done the work of being fair-trade certified and sticking to it. “There’s gotta be a point in which you can’t compromise safety or people’s livelihoods just to make a buck.”
Now, as Frangipani shoppers must know, Susu bags are not inexpensive. They can retail for upwards of $300 a bag. I imagined this must come with some marketing challenges, especially with fast fashion running rampant on the global retail market. And, in the last eight years, Susu’s business has grown on a colossal scale, selling bags around the world (their biggest market currently is China, where consumers want as many unique things as they can get their hands on, and as McMahon told me, there are many clients that even have collections of Susu bags). McMahon adds, “I am more than happy, willing, excited when someone wants to know about our process and why our bags are priced the way they are. ‘Where is all that coming from?’ And ‘Why are our bags special?’ I could talk about it for hours. But I’m not in the business of convincing someone that, ‘You should pay this.’ You need to actually want it and get it.” Because as she continued, “every single person is not going to be our customer. Our customers are people who care about fair trade, who love beautiful unique things, who enjoy color. It’s not for everybody and that’s okay.”
Does this remind anyone else of Frangipani’s store and client base? Probably because Frangipani shares a similar love for color, uniqueness and sustainable and fair-trade merchandise. And as McMahon stated beautifully, “when you make the commitment- I mean these are real, human lives that are behind it- you can’t just sell out. That’s why we’ve been successful with it; that’s why people keep coming back, because they know.” It’s with this mindset and dedication to fair trade that Susu has been successful even with fast fashion at every turn. There are clients out there who believe in the mission as Susu does and want to support it, and this goes for Frangipani’s community as well.
McMahon ended our conversation with an anecdote from her early days with Susu. They take a trip every year or so to visit the Wayúu and hold a few days of festivities for their knitters to come and take part in. These conferences are held out of the house of a matriarch of the Wayúu tribe, Señora Memya, as she has been a huge part in connecting the Wayúu with Susu. They play ice-breaker games together to increase comfort and friendliness, and they’ll show the attendees if Susu has been showcased in the media and just catch up on life in general. But in order to get to La Guajira, it can take up to twenty hours in the car from the nearest airport. And these car rides aren’t for the faint of heart, as they go right through the desert and some of the most desolate poverty in the world. There are so many people in need, including many of the Wayúu, which is why Susu brings groceries and meals for their time with the knitters each year.
And on one of the first of these trips that McMahon took, they had leftover groceries at the end of the events, so they asked Señora Memeya to give them to the knitters who needed it most. She responded, “‘Listen, take it back with you, because there’s need here, but there’s desperation on your way back.’” After a long pause, McMahon continued, “we’re talking about people who are not doing great to begin with, and for this woman and these people to say, ‘You know what? We’re good. Just take it back and distribute it to all those other people who don’t have at least this opportunity. We’re working with you guys, and we’ll be fine.’ It just shows you their nature.”
Even hearing this myself I was hooked; with brands like Susu doing their part to be fair-trade and making beautiful objects, and stores like Frangipani carrying these items, we have the opportunity to buy more sustainable and ethical products, and we should take it. That doesn’t necessarily mean buying more products or spending more money, but perhaps saving for those pieces that you can feel good about that will last you a long time. As a soon-to-be graduating college student, I know that if I want to purchase products that are better for the world and the people living in it, I have to save up or wait until there is a sale, but I want to do that to support artisans like the Wayúu, who need all that they can get, and companies who are, in-turn, helping them. For as McMahon said about her story as our conversation came to a close, “once you see that, you’re not into fast fashion anymore… it’s not even important. It’s not what it’s about.”
No we're not feeling blue...We just love the color blue! So we're taking you on a quick little tour around Frangipani to create a blue story board. Check out some fun products in the store now.
From top left corner moving clockwise:
1. Banana Baseball Cap from Mavrans. Reminiscing about the last Art Basel? Add a little fun to your day with this cobalt blue, cotton baseball cap embroidered with a little yellow banana. $29
2. Leisure T-shirt from Duvin Design Co. Remind yourself to take it easy in this soft and comfy cotton tee. $26.50
3. Cobalt Leather Star Pillow from Molly M Designs. Add the unexpected to a bed or sofa with this handmade, laser-cut pillow. In-store only. $75
4. The Ana sunglasses from Komono. Designed in Belgium with fashion and quality in mind. $69.95
5. Find Your Artistic Voice, by Lisa Congdon. Packed full of tips to get your creativity going. $18.95
6. Parrot Socks from Duvin. Need we say more? In-store only. $12
7. Side Horizon Swim Short from Duvin. For the pool or the beach. $64
9. Ball Blue Towel from Futah. Cotton towel, machine washable, designed in Portugal for beach or pool. $45.