Inspired by the rich artisan textiles of Guatemala, Diego Olivero and Gonzalo Pertile, are the designers behind The Mayan Store. Their cool contemporary brand fuses modern design with traditional weaving techniques to create unique handmade objects. We caught up with this designing duo and chatted with them about their process and the evolution of their eco-chic home and accessories line.
Describe The Mayan Store.
The Mayan Store is a contemporary lifestyle brand that promotes handmade culture. We work with more than 450 artisans from around the country, blending traditional artisanal techniques with modern design. We are focused on generating sustainable opportunities for our artisan network and offering our customers high-end ethically sourced products. We are driven by design; we thrive to create unique handmade objects that have a deep sense of design and functionality. So even though the traditional weaving techniques that are used date from hundreds of years ago, we always try to incorporate contemporary and exclusive designs into each one of our pieces.
How and when did you start The Mayan Store?
The company was created in early 2010. We were always amazed by the colorful textiles and centuries-old techniques of Guatemala and wanted to show the world this cultural heritage through our own vision and design.
Speak about your previous work experience and how it helped you to create your own brand.
Diego is an Industrial Designer with international experience in interior design in commercial, residential and hospitality projects. Gonzalo is a Business Management graduate with international consulting experience. The experience of both co-founders is an excellent combination as they complement each other and it contributes towards the success of the brand.
What are some of your endless inspirations?
Our collections represent the traditional textiles of Guatemala, through a more modern outlook. All of our collections speak the same language and share a common vision: to help our regional communities with new ideas for the creation of quality modern designs that represent the Mayan culture in the world. Our team is fascinated by the handcrafts of Guatemala, and the colorful textiles that have been a trademark of our country. We are inspired by the breathtaking landscapes of Guatemala, its nature and the rich Mayan cultural heritage. All of this motivates us to find new ways of making our products eco-friendly and environmentally conscious. The most important thing is that we love what we do, and we are committed to help our artisan network.
How does travel inspire your collection?Travel is one of one of our favorite activities! We travel intensely through the different regions of Guatemala, finding new artisans and gathering inspiration from the scenery and beauty of our country. We also like to travel abroad to always be connected with world trends and to explore how to translate them to our own communities of artisans. We believe travel opens our minds to new opportunities and ideas!
You work with artisans, tell us about how this came about and a bit about the process?
We are located in Guatemala where there are plenty of artisans and where the crafts culture is rich and vibrant, so working with artisans came as something natural and evident. We work hand by hand with artisan communities in the rural areas of Guatemala, helping them develop high quality fabrics that are used to create the final products. By doing this, we are reviving various traditional techniques of Central America, which include the pedal loom and back strap loom techniques for fabric weaving. All of the fabrics are hand-woven in Mayan artisan communities in different parts of our country. Each one of our pieces has a story behind it and the products are made with great care by each one of the artisan communities. We are thus committed to the preservation of Mayan cultural heritage, promoting environmental and social awareness, through the use of recycled materials and also developing sustainable trade for the handicrafts sector on a global scale.
Your collection continues to grow, what creative endeavors are on the horizon?
We are constantly working on new product developments, and creative ways of re-inventing things. We are always open to new endeavors and looking for opportunities that allow us to explore our creativity and partnerships that can contribute to showcase the traditions of our country to the world!