Behind the Brand
Latinx Brands We Love
To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, we caught up with the founders of a few of our favorite Latinx brands who shared their family traditions. Find the ceviche one founder makes every time she hits the beach to the bi-lingual birthday custom that took a while to appreciate.
- courtesy of the brands
- Interview By
- Katie Covington
Can you tell us a bit about how you started your company, Agua Bendita?
Born out of a shared dream to bring Colombian design and craft to the world stage, beachwear label Agua Bendita was founded by us – Catalina Álvarez (above left) and Mariana Hinestroza (above right). Each piece is handmade at home by female artisans, so they can balance their work and family life.
Each time you buy an AB piece, you’re buying more than just a swimsuit; it’s a unique piece made straight through artisanal techniques, which have been passed from generation to generation. These super talented artisans get to work from home while they take care of their children, with every purchase a contribute is made to our social responsibility program improving their living conditions.
Our designers and local artists make each and every Agua Bendita print from sketch. You will always have a unique piece, it is part of our DNA and we take pride on it!
Catalina on her Colombian countryside traditions:
“Rionegro is our weekend family tradition! Since I was young, my family tradition is to go to our farm every weekend. Our home away from home. This farm is a cottage in Rionegro, Colombia, 45 minutes away from our home. Here we get to enjoy the countryside and our family.
Our children love horseback riding, milking cows, and feeding ducks, chickens, horses, rabbits, and dogs. They learn to cultivate, to know where food and animals come from. At this farm, they preserve, appreciate and value our heritage and family customs. Farm life is a Colombian tradition from our ancestors, with infinite love for the countryside.”
Mariana on her go-to dish when they head to Tierra Bomba, an island near Cartagena, Colombia:
“Valentino and Gael, my two children, have grown up next to the sea. They enjoy exploring and discovering stones and elements that the ocean brings. As a family tradition, we sit next to each other every single day to see the sunset. The island fills me with inspiration, this is the perfect place to take and wear Agua Bendita.
One of my hidden talents is cooking. Every time I go to the island, I cook seafood plates to honor the island's gastronomy, like this octopus recipe for four people:
Cook 2 pounds of octopus in salted boiling water for 30 minutes. Chop the octopus once cooled into small pieces. Place the octopus in a bowl and add:
- mix of chopped olives to taste
- fresh finely cut tomato to taste
- fresh basil, finely chopped to taste
- half red onion finely chopped into julienne
- olive oil to taste
- balsamic vinegar to taste
- 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
- salt and pepper to taste
Let marinate for a couple of hours.
Serve with tortillas and garnishes, as desired.
Can you tell us a bit about how you started your company, Rookie Humans? It looks like you have so much fun.
I'm Gabriela Anggono, founder of Rookie Humans. Proud Latina and mama of two little boys who are the inspiration behind my company. I'm originally from Uruguay but have been living in the US for over 20 years. I am very much a kid at heart, and helping to create joyful rooms for babies and children is a true dream for me.
When my little one was born, I took so many pictures of him in his crib that one day I realized his crib sheets were acting as backdrops. That simple realization set my imagination on fire and I couldn't wait to reimagine the crib sheet as a backdrop. I never intended to create a novelty product, but a high quality, thoughtfully designed product - designing crib sheets the way they should be, in a way that celebrates all the sweet moments that happen inside the crib, helping to create a whimsical environment that brings joy to little ones and parents alike.
Gabriela on raising kids to have a sense of global awareness: Our family is a mix - my husband is Chinese-Indonesian and I'm Uruguayan so the kids are growing up hearing stories about growing up in both countries and hearing their grandparents speak in different languages. We are trying to raise them with a sense of love, appreciation, curiosity and respect for other cultures. This manifests in small ways like celebrating Chinese New Year, the food we eat, the books we read, the music we listen to, and the conversations we have around the dinner table. There's no specific tradition or ritual, but an overall mindset about having a sense of global awareness and empathy.
Can you share how you started Luna Antigua? We love that your friendship is such an integral part of your story.
We’re Sandra Falcon and Pamela Lozoya, both first generation Americans born to Mexican (Sandra, above left) and Guatemalan (Pamela, above right) parents. We met in Chicago in the early 90's as kids and both now call Fort Worth, Tx home. It's always a full house when the Falcon's and Lozoya's get together!
We wanted to create a brand that would honor the heirloom quality of the pieces and our Latin heritage.
Even the name Luna Antigua has a special meaning. It was important for us to create a company name that represented tradition and would also honor the women that keep this art form alive. We chose Luna, the Spanish word for moon, as an homage to the moon goddess master weaver Ix Chel, and Antigua, the Spanish word for ancient that’s also the name of the old capital of Guatemala, which today is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
It’s definitely not fast fashion. A yard of our fabric takes from six to eight hours to loom, and our embroidery team can spend up to seven hours on a little girl’s dress. Our women’s embroidery takes weeks to complete.
Our pieces are not only beautiful, they also provide a living wage to the artists who create them, and the financial support helps keep an ancient tradition alive. It’s always been a priority for us to empower our artisans to be successful and earn competitive incomes. Luna Antigua has opened our eyes to the impact a small business can have locally and for our artisan partners, as well as their communities. More than anything, this opportunity has taught us that we can help bring a voice to marginalized members across Guatemala through fashion and ethical work.
Sandra on her go-to Chile Guajillo Pozole for cool evenings: Our family traditions revolve around food! Both mine and my husband's families are from Mexico but the cuisine from each region celebrates its differences. My family is from Morelos Mexico and one of my favorite dishes from that region is my mom's green tomatillo chicken pozole. My husband's family is from San Luis Potosi, and I am so grateful that my mother-in-law passed down her famous Red Chile Guajillo Pork Pozole recipe to my husband, Chris. Both dishes are delicious in their own ways and there's something so comforting about a warm bowl of pozole once the temperatures start to drop! Here's a similar recipe to our Chile Guajillo Pozole!
A tip from Chris - skip out on the cumin but definitely don't skip out on the tostadas.
And on the tradition she’s come around to now that she’s a parent: Las Mañanitas is a long-winded version of the Happy Birthday song that my parents always insisted we sing all the way through...this was after the short English version was sung! As kids, the song only meant we had to wait longer to be able to blow out our candles and make our wishes. I come from a family of 5 siblings so you can imagine the anticipation! I'd like to think that my parents wanted to ensure we celebrated each birthday with a little piece from their traditions in Mexico. Now as adults, we know that it is not a real birthday unless you are sung the Happy Birthday Song and Las Mañanitas on your special day and the tradition lives on with my kiddos and nieces!
Pamela on making Guatemalan tamales together: My family is from Guatemala and we all look forward to my mother's tamales. If you've never had a Guatemalan tamal, they are wrapped in beautiful banana leaves and taste heavenly! I have many childhood memories helping my mom spread the masa on the leaves and I hope to pass this memory on to my daughters, and my son!
(We love this similar if you’re inspired!)
Growing up, I spent summers in Guatemala. I'm grateful that my mom made it a priority for us to travel back to her roots every summer. My parents wanted us to discover and fall in love with Guatemala so we made it our mission to visit new rivers, historic landmarks, or indigenous protected grounds where they taught us to learn from the land and respect it. It's an honor to now take my kids on these adventures as well.