To date, El Camino Travel has successfully provided intrepid travelers with highly immersive cultural experiences to destinations like Colombia, Cuba, Mexico City, and Nicaragua. We are now ready to foray into product design by partnering with emerging talent in these countries, starting with Makua Jewelry. El Camino Travel has partnered with Makua Jewelry and the indigenous Embera Chami community of Colombia’s Antioquia region to create a stunning collection that reflects both our commitment to progressive design and social impact.
The collection includes two styles of statement piece earrings that are bright in color and bohemian in style. We worked closely with the Embera Chami indigenous group throughout the process by integrating their traditional craftsmanship in the designs. Through our partnership, we champion and embolden the Embera community through direct, fair wages. The process for the development of our first product upholds the same values of our trips—high quality, exceptional design and strong social impact. As a small business, we are asking for your support to bring these stunning earrings into the world.
Charêa, mâude kurîa, mâude jômâura. || Con pasíon. Con amor. Con integridad. || With passion. With love. With integrity.
These earrings are definitely statement earrings. They were designed to communicate that they are bold and fearless just like the woman that is wearing them.
They are meant to be worn frequently with various types of outfits.
You can put them on to easily elevate a casual outfit of jeans, t-shirt, and heels or have them be part of a fancier outfit for a wedding or first date. They have a vibrant personality of their own just like you!
Details of the Earrings
Both size earrings are very lightweight. They are clip-on earrings in the back so that they stay on better. Though they are clip-ons they do not hurt (trust us Katalina has been wearing them 8 hours a day for weeks on end as a guerrilla marketing tool and she has very sensitive ears) like what some may have experienced with vintage clip-on earrings.
The metal is 24K gold-plated brass hardware.
The wood (that is part of the larger chandelier earrings) is sourced from the Cocama indigenous community located in the Amazon between Peru and Colombia. These communities use wood as their primary source for their artisan work, particularly the wood from a tree called the Palosangre. It is a very resilient and sturdy wood also used frequently to build structures within the community.
We were not kidding when we said a ridiculous amount of thought and consideration was put into every detail of the design process.
Hi! My name is Katalina Mayorga and I am the founder of El Camino Travel, a travel outfitter that focuses on immersive and highly curated experiences to countries like Colombia, Cuba, and Nicaragua. While crafting these travel experiences we are continuously tapping into the local creative economies of the destinations meeting talented entrepreneurs, designers, and individuals who are pushing the norms of their industry in all the right ways. This includes Maria Paulina Arango, the founder of Makua Jewelry.
In 2015, I met Maria Paulina in Medellin, Colombia and I was immediately enamored with her stunning jewelry. But what really got me was the story behind her pieces. She works with four indigenous communities throughout Colombia to preserve traditional craftsmanship that has been passed down for generations, integrating it into more modern designs that would sell globally and in-turn stimulate local economies. Makua ensures that these communities earn fair wages for a cultural legacy that could easily disappear.
When El Camino first explored a fashion product partnership, Makua was first in our mind. I long admired her eye for the exceptional and how she created such bold pieces that the market clearly loved, while having a strong ethical component directly built into her business. This approach hit close to home because it is how we have done business at El Camino from the beginning.
We have worked for over four months on the design of our first collection, meticulously going through iteration after iteration and testing out color palettes. Know that by supporting this Kickstarter, you are supporting entrepreneurs who have put so much thought, heart, and passion into every detail of their work
The Embera Chami describe their craftsmanship as an ancestral thought rather than simply as art. We have worked closely with the Embera Chami community who have brought our vision to life through their ancestral techniques in crystal beading.
Through our collaboration, we will be able to connect the artistans of this community to a more global marketplace that ensures fair and dependable wages and allows them to make long-term decisions for their community.
Rosita (far left) will use the money she would gain from this project to pursue an advanced degree in psychology.
Emmanuel (left) would use this money to finish fixing his house as well as pursue a degree in mathematics. His wife, Lily, would pursue a bachelor degree in childhood education.
Why We Care
Long before starting El Camino Travel, I worked in international development. I saw some amazing projects, but more often than not, I saw a lot of failed projects. The common scenario went like this: once the grant funding would dry up, the jobs would quickly disappear and even the jobs that were created did not pay a livable wage. As a consequence, this created a negative cycle of dependency and chaos for the community.
I started El Camino with the intention of not contributing to the cycle of failed grants. Instead, I was determined to create real market solutions that would provide a service that is of high value to the customer (demand) while significantly benefitting the producer as well (supply).
The objective was a symbiotic relationship that proved beneficial for all those involved. To date, this model (that is part social impact part business) has shown to have greater positive results for our local partners providing them long-term economic development that is skill based.
With the launch of our first product, we are eager to have a larger social impact with our local partners. We know that they are talented individuals who may not have the know-how or access to a global market. Through our partnership, we are able to help them access this market that appreciates and values the intricacies of their craftsmanship.
Like our El Camino trips, it is a win-win situation for all those involved.
Risks and challenges
We are fully prepared to handle the size of our order if our Kickstarter goal is met. However, if we exceed our goal (one can only hope!) by a significant amount, there may be a set-back in production. However, we have discussed this possibility with the artisan cooperative and they have said that there are plenty of individuals in the community who are talented artisans and would be ready to contribute.
We promise to be transparent throughout our process and if we do expect any delays, we will let you know right away and keep you updated and informed until your earrings ship.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (28 days)