Being an Entrepreneur and Working with the Wayuu Community in Columbia with Aline Nalbandian, Founder of A-Line Wayuu Love

On this week’s Let’s Talk About… episode, Elise sits down with Aline Nalbandian.

A-Line Wayuu Love was born to support Wayuu artisans living in La Guajira, the northernmost point of Colombia while bringing their beautiful wares back to Canada. With one-of-a-kind artisanal mochila bags, each bag reflects the spirit and passion of the weaver, using colour and pattern to tell the stories of the hands that made it.

Elise and Aline talk about the story behind the brand, being a new entrepreneur and working with the locals in Columbia and giving back to the community.

It’s an art that they pass down from women to girl, for generations to generation. And it’s literally their only means of income and it’s super important. So I decided right there and then that I would do this if I could find a way to work with these communities.Aline tells Elise on Let’s Talk About.

Check out Aline’s products at our ‘the edit’ summer pop-up in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Our chic general store located at 1-233 King Street in NOTL, is open everything Thursday to Monday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  

A-line Wayuu Love — Before the Business

Source: A-Line

Check out the show transcript below.

[00:00:00] Elise: Hi everyone. And welcome to let’s talk about this week. We’re talking about with Aline, from A-Line Wayu Love brand. Aline is gonna be a part of the popup this month of August in Niagara-on-the-Lake at 233 King street and we are excited to have her! We’re excited to have the brand, and we’re doing this podcast series to learn a little bit more about the stories behind the brand. So Eileen, thank you so much for being here with us today. 

[00:00:25] Aline: I’m excited to be. Yeah. 

[00:00:27] Elise: So let’s start at the beginning, I guess, with your story. So just what, okay. What’s a little bit about your background and how, how did we get here to this conversation today?

[00:00:36] Aline: Okay, well, um, question a of people ask me a lot of people ask me, how did I get involved in this? Am I Columbian? You know, do I have roots there? And no. So it all started with just a family trip to Columbia pre pandemic. Like I’m talking, we were in Columbia when the world health organization announced that COVID was the pandemic. Yeah, so we were traveling, 

[00:01:00] Elise: Ao it kicks off with a bang .

[00:01:03] Aline: Yeah. Um, but you see in the markets there, they sell these colourful Mochila bags which is what I sell. So I had grabbed a couple of souvenirs and a year later I was wearing them around town. And every time I wore one of these bags, I would get stopped by friends and strangers on the street, you know, uh, like, oh my gosh, where did you get that bag? What is that bag? And some people knew what it was. They were like, is that Mochica from Columbia. Um, and so it just happened that, you know, this was like when COVID was kind of slowing down and I was looking for, I was itching for something to do, looking for a little business idea, and this just felt right.

I was like, I wonder if I should sell these bags here, everybody seems to love them. And so I actually did a 24 hour trip, I have a friend there and I bought 10 bags at the market, brought them back, tested them out to make sure this was something everybody was really into and sure enough it was. But then I started to research about the bags and I found out that they are a tradition and a part of the culture of the indigenous people who live in the north of the desert, the tribe is called the Wayuu.

Um, and they’re very poor. They have a very hard life in the desert and this is their ancient tradition. It’s an art that they pass down from women to girl, for generation to generation. And it’s literally their only means of income. Um, and it’s, it’s, it’s super important. So I decided right there and then that I would do this.

If I could find a way to work with these communities, I didn’t have any interest in just flying there, going to the market, picking up 20 bags, selling them here. No. Um, and so I started to call some people in Columbia and when I was talking to one of my friends in midday, Jean, um, I told them, you know, I wanna do this, but I’ve gotta find a way to partner with these communities.

He had a contact. He was like, oh my gosh, my cousin has a friend who is of these tribes of issues. Ye. Exactly. And so a month after this conversation, that was July of last year. So August, 2021, I flew. Um, you know, I was picked up by Pablo from the airport and we went to his friend Rosas’ community. 

[00:03:06] Elise: Oh my God. 

[00:03:06] Aline: And that was the first, that was my first entry into this. Um, yeah, so I picked up, I don’t remember like a hundred bags, 150 bags from that village came back to Toronto and sold them within two weeks, which I didn’t expect.

[00:03:19] Elise: Right. 

[00:03:20] Aline: So I was like, okay, this is, this is something that can work. and from there his business model sort of developed, I have more partnerships in Columbia. I’m working with several communities now. Um, yeah. And then the key for me has always been that this is sort of, um, it’s not just a business to make money. It’s, it’s a passion project. 

If I can partner with these communities and help them. So one of the things is that I will always travel there. I travel to Columbia every 2, 3, 4 months, and I go to these communities, they know I’m coming, so they, you know, start to make the bags for me. I buy the bags directly from them at above market price.

Which is huge because they’re usually stuck selling these to, you know, middle men. Um, it’s very difficult for very, 

[00:04:03] Elise: I was gonna say, do they usually, do they usually sell it to the markets or a middle man who then would sell it to like someone in Canada kind of thing? Is that how it would work? Typically?

[00:04:13] Aline: Not necessarily to Canada, but they, um, yeah, they, they find their way from their village, like through dirt roads, to the main road to get to the markets and I have to find buyers for their bags there and then those people sell it to, you know, in the market or to somebody else who’s selling it to a bigger market. And yeah, they’ve told me they get very little, their trade is very undervalued. There’s a lot of people making these mochilas. So it’s not like they’ve got something to be like to bargain with. They basically have to take what they can get to, to be able to go home with some. Um, yeah, so it’s a difficult life.

You know, I go into these communities, I’ll buy 30, 40, 50 bags at a time and I’m giving them fair market price. You know, they’re getting, they’re getting the opportunity to earn a fair income to support their communities. And then I also give back a portion of my proceeds to them. I also recently did a fundraiser, um, so we could raise a, a little bit more money to really make an impact in these communities.

So in one of the communities that I work with, we asked. You know, what can we do to help you? And they had an old windmill that wasn’t functioning and it was attached to a well deep in the ground. And they said, if you can help us get this working and, you know, get a system going so we can provide community of the water to water, to the community.

That would be great. So I jumped on that. So we did that. We had a team of engineers go in, um, and they, you know, fix whatever was broken with the windmill. They put in a whole new pipe. So now the windmill sucks the water from the ground. It goes to a filtration system and then we’ve got pipes going to the entire community. So everybody’s got fresh, clean water. Now. 

[00:05:44] Elise: That’s amazing. And I know I saw on your website too. There’s something with, is it something with shoes and oh yeah. Yeah. Tell us a little bit about that too. 

[00:05:53] Aline: Yeah, so I started that, uh, couple months ago. Okay. Um, so there’s schools in these communities and a lot of.

There’ll be one big school and a lot of different communities feed into that school. So the kids from different villages walk there, it’s a long walk in the desert and, um, you know, they’re walking barefoot or broken crops or broken, flip flops. So what I did to help them get to school is we got the name and shoe size of every kid at this school, um, and bought them a brand new pair of shoes Had them shipped to Rio hacha and yeah, so each kid got a brand new pair of shoes. So we did that last time with 150 pairs of shoes. And we did that again, we’re working with some communities even further north in LA Guda. Um, we visited that school. Like when I went back in February and they would told me this me 150 kids there.

And when I went to the school, there was like 50 kids. So I asked one of the teachers, where’s all the kids. And they said, oh, well, a lot of them can’t come because they don’t have the shoes or the means to be able to make the Trek to school. So I was like, I know how to fix this. so, so we did that again, this time there was 180 kids.

We got their name and shoe size. So I just came back to a week ago. We did this whole thing. It’s it’s crazy. We sit there. We’re like, we got all these shoes and we’re calling the kids names and it’s, it’s just such a chaos, but it’s beautiful at the end of the day.

[00:07:08] Elise: That’s amazing. 

Yeah. Everybody leaves with a brand new pair of shoes. And the other thing we’re working though is again, in that community, that’s very far north, um, there’s seven different communities who feed into that one big school. Okay. But one of the communities is very far. Some of the kids have to walk three to five kilometers to get to that school. Okay. Um, and.

\Yeah. One of the teachers approached us and said, you know, these kids can’t, it’s too far for them too difficult, but I’m a teacher. And if you build us two classrooms, just a little school, we’ll teach the kids here. So there’s 80 kids in this community and that’s the next project we’re working on. We’re building.

Yeah, we’re building two classrooms. Just a little school and, um, yeah, in that area. Yeah. But it’s great because they’re involved too. They’re not just waiting for a handout. Like if we give them the money. For the materials to build this school, they’ll build this school, they’ll teach the kids. So that’s what I love about it is that they’re invested in it.

[00:08:04] Elise: And so what was the, it sounds like now, I mean, you’re very much a part of, uh, how many communities are there actually, that’s my first question. Is there, like, there’s the, there’s the one school, is there like multiple little, like how that I work with or that there’s that.

[00:08:21] Elise: I’d be interested to know like how many communities you work with and then just to understand like geographically, like, is that the size of, you know, the GTA, like. What geographically does that span. And is that if you don’t know that offhand it’s okay. I’m just kinda, yeah. I don’t know that offhand, 

[00:08:37] Aline: It’s a big area in LA Guda and it’s all desert. And, um, the why you live in little communities by family and extended family, but each community will be one family like extended family, but they’re all related and that’s, and that’s how the communities are. So, um, yeah, so there’s, there’s one community 

[00:09:00] Elise: There’s a couple hundred in a community?

[00:09:03] Aline: Yeah, probably. Okay. And there, there’s always like this main area where the chief lives and there’s a couple of houses and there’s the big kitchen and maybe there’s a little school. And then when you walk around the outskirts of that, there’s all the other families have their little. It’s not even a house, it’s a hut.

They live such simple lives. It’s literally just a hut made of natural materials. Mm-hmm with hammocks in it. They sleep in hammocks and they really don’t have furniture at all. Mm-hmm , um, there’s tables and desks in like the area where they meet or in the school. And, and then there’s always a kitchen and it’s again, very simple.

It’ll be like a cement sort of slate that they then cook a fire on and all of their food is cooked on that fire. And then, you know, there’s another, maybe cement slate where they have like things to dry or they put the food and it’s, it’s very simple. Like you can’t imagine how, what a simple, simple life, simple life they live with simple materials, like with the most basic.

[00:09:58] Elise: And how, so we know how you got like, in, in touch with that community, but what was it about Columbia? That was it just literally a family trip, like random, or was there some ties? It sounds like you had some friends in that community, like, or that area. Were you like, what drew you there initially? 

[00:10:18] Aline: We’d always been meaning to go to Columbia.

I have, um, some friends here who are Columbia. Who’d always been telling me that you need to go, you need to go. And that’s it. We were planning a family trip for March break and we were like, let’s do it. Let’s go. So, um, you know, I love Columbia. I love the people there. They’re so warm and welcoming. I’ve never felt like a foreigner there it’s, you know, people talk about, they think that Columbia’s unsafe, but I actually feel very safe and, um, and welcome there. I mean, you do have to watch where you’re going and

[00:10:44] Elise: Just like you would anywhere.

[00:10:46] Aline: but, um, yeah. Yeah. But the people are so welcoming and warm and friendly and helpful. Um, yeah, I just love it there. And then the way that this business happened, like I told you, it just that way and exactly, and the doors opened where they should, and it just keeps going that way.

Like I worked with one community. Um, so I, when I was there, I hired a local photographer. His name is Yvonne Sanchez and he’s now my partner there. Like he helps me on the ground there. He led me to another community, which I’ve been working with since September. Um, I work very closely with that community.

That’s the one where we put in the windmill and we’ll keep helping that community. Um, and he has been led me to another, like the other group of communities in the far north. That’s a group of seven different communities. So that’s something new that I’ve been working with since February. And I went back there again this time and I’ll be going there again.

Mm-hmm so, yeah, it’s super helpful to have somebody there who is partnered with me and helps me out. Mm-hmm um, but yeah, it’s just, I’ve just been led that way, you know, you can feel that this feels right and, and the other thing is. I feel like, um, we’ve got such a great community here in Toronto or the GTA that is supporting this cause too.

Like they love to see the progress. They love to see the impact that. Help and their purchase is making there as well. Mm-hmm I really feel like if, if that wasn’t there, this wouldn’t be possible either. Like, you know, I think it’s a village, it’s a village to help a village. Yeah. 

[00:12:16] Elise: Oh, I love that. 

[00:12:16] Aline: Just me helping them. It’s our community here, helping those community there.

[00:12:21] Elise: I love that slogan. Do you use that in your, I didn’t see that in your marketing at all, but I feel like that’s that’s I think 

[00:12:26] Aline: I use the hashtag, but it’s actually common but no, but it’s true. And I know that. Well, the other wonderful thing too, is that these are amazing products. So people like, it’s not like I wanna help them. And like, you know, I don’t really love what they’re selling, but one guys like let’s do this. No, no. Like what they’re making is something that they’ve been making for generations. It is, you know, this beautiful woven. Um, the traditional one is the mochila it’s the, the cross body bucket bag.

[00:12:53] Elise: Why don’t we talk a little bit about the product, cause I’m actually, I’m looking at them on the side as you chat. So why don’t you tell everyone a little bit, like describe them a little. 

[00:13:10] Aline: Yeah. So they’re made of this acrylic, you know, dye, um, ya and it’s not cotton or wool, which makes it great because it’s actually machine washable and it doesn’t shrink or lose its size. You know, your machine washable, light, flat, dry. It literally will last a lifetime. They use theirs for a lifetime in the desert. Like everybody there has got one slung over their shoulder and it’s, you know, um, withstands at the heat, the, the rain, the desert. So, um, but they’re just so they’re like wearable pieces of. each one is woven. Like when you see your bag, you know that there’s a girl or a lady sitting in the desert and it’s one needle and thread that she weaves around her finger. So she’s got like the needle in her right hand and the thread woven around her index finger and the left hand. And she just weaves and weaves and weaves. Um, it starts from the bottom and goes all the way up. And it’s these intricate beautiful. Patterns and designs. And I know that all of the patterns and designs mean something to them. Mm-hmm um, and they learn each one and, you know, they represent either their clan name or something in nature or their dream or something about life.

One that’s very popular you’ll see is triangles, which represent stars. And when they’re laid out in a certain way, they represent constellations, which is very important for them cuz that’s how they orient themselves in the desert. Okay. 

[00:14:16] Elise: Oh, wow. 

[00:14:16] Aline: Yeah. And what’s really awesome is when they use these beautiful, bright colors.

[00:14:21] Elise: And I was gonna say a backdrop there’s, there’s some beautiful ones on your Instagram. 

[00:14:43] Aline: Yeah. Where everything’s brown and bland. And then there’s these beautiful pops of color. It’s just, uh, It’s really incredible. So when I walk into one of these communities in the desert, they’ve got them all hanging from the huts, from the trees and, and I just like stare at the beauty and I have to have to choose which ones I’m gonna bring back with me.

But yeah. And it’s hard cause I have to think of like, they’re also beautiful. Here like this, but I have to think of when I bring them back, which ones are gonna sell because right. I mean, I do have to be able to sell these bags if I can’t sell these bags, I can’t go back yeah. So yeah, that’s the business portion of it.

Like I, you know, it’s a beautiful product. People love them. Mm-hmm and so, you know, I always have to find new ways of selling them, which is why I’m so happy to partner with you. This is a whole new audience. Mm-hmm a whole new market. To be able to sell the bags to so that mm-hmm I can go back and continue to do the work that we’re doing there continue to make the impact that we together are making there.

So, yeah. So there’s the cross body Mala bags and then something that I just discovered one day in a market and you don’t see them often at all. Is these larger tote bags. I love the tote. Yeah. Yeah. And those take like two to three, some take four months to make. Gosh. So they’re very hard to get. You won’t find those in the markets in Columbia at all.

Okay. And I ask, you know, my ladies to make those for me. And when I go, like I’ll pick up maybe a hundred mochilas and 20 tote Bayes. Okay. Like they’re very hard to get. Um, and they take them a long time to make. And then there’s other little things they make too. Like the, the straps of the mats are so beautiful. And so they make these into like, you just take the strap and they bind leather on the ends of it for me. We meet those into camera straps or purse straps. I’ve got just a few guitar straps coming. Oh, cool. Yeah. We’ve and then we’ve got some little cute mini mochilas and medium sized mochilas I’ve got a few, like, we’re just trying a couple things out. They, they made me some dog collars. Like I didn’t even ask for that, but they made me some dog collars and dog leashes and I was like, okay, I’ll try these out. Like yeah. It’s fun. Yeah. Um, yeah, so we’re trying to like expand the collection a little bit, but yeah, the main substance of it is the, is the mochila bag.

[00:16:29] Elise: No, I love how I, I’m just kind of envisioning, first of all, I love how, if people want to see how they’re made, they can definitely go on your Instagram. And there’s some videos that, that show that process, which is really interesting. There’s quite a few videos that show the ladies.

[00:16:43] Aline: Yeah. Making the bags. And then I did a series of interviews with the ladies. There’s the four part series where they talk about it. They talk about how they learn to make the bag and why it’s so important to them and why it’s so important to keep this tradition alive. And then they talk about the difficulty as well. Like I mentioned before selling this bag and how they don’t get, um, such good value for it. Mm-hmm . And then in the last video of the four, they thank us here in Canada for appreciating, because here I think people really do appreciate what a handmade, um, absolutely product is and what goes into it. And the tradition and the culture behind it. And they know that and they are thankful for that. 

[00:17:21] Elise: And I think when you share too, like the fact that you shared, you know, one of the totes takes anywhere from three to four months to make like it kinda, when you put a timeline to things for people, it kind of, you know, shows a true artisan and craftsmanship behind things too. It’s like, oh, wow. That’s not just like run through a machine. And, and quickly created, like to, to take that long to, to put together is true. Like you said earlier, a work of art. 

[00:17:46] Aline: And each one unique. It’s not like one lady has one specific pattern and bag that she just spits out every month. No. So like every time she take, cause I’ve asked them, how do you get inspired for your next bag?

And it’s usually questions. It’s usually something that it comes from their dream or something that happened in their life or something that they’ve seen in nature. And they’re then inspired to make the next bag that they’re going to make. And so I know that there’s. There’s, you know, different people selling these bags right now, especially in the states.

And there’s some bigger brands and they, um, talk about how they create their designs and they work with the ye communities to have their designs made. And they’ll have like four of this bag and that’s something that I try and stay away from because I appreciate their originality, their inspiration, their design.

So I mean, what I’ll do is so. There’s a bag that it does so well here. Like, people love it. They’ll like, can you make me that bag again? So there’s a couple bags that I’ve set them a picture and I’m like, can you make me this bag again? Yeah. Um, and the other thing is I’ll request a certain color scheme.

Like the blue color scheme does very well here, the black and white. I have none left right now. There’s some coming, but they sell out instantly. And the neutral hues do really well here. So I’ll ask them to make me some bag in those color schemes, but I don’t wanna tell them, like, I need this specific design.

I want to continue to, you know, Marvel at their inspiration and their artistry. Mm-hmm . I just, and that’s why each bag is unique. 

[00:19:08] Elise: And you see, I was gonna say each bag is one of a kind in a way, right. Like I would imagine. Yeah. And speaks to that individual person, whether they’re tree that’s people.

[00:19:19] Aline: Yeah. I love when people come to shop the bag and I see them, sometimes they get drawn right away to one bag and that’s their bag. Like that bag speaks to them. Something about whoever was inspired to make that bag. That inspiration speaks to them. And it’s so funny cuz you know, there’s so many bags and they’re also beautiful and I watch people do this all the time.

They come in and they grab that one bag, but then they’re like, oh, but they’re also pretty. And oh, and I love this one and I love this one and they get so confused and I tell them, listen, go with the one that first drew you in. That’s your bag. And then you’re right. And they grab that bag and then they’re so happy.

[00:19:50] Elise: Yeah. I feel like there must be like some, it’s kind of like when someone picks a crystal or something like that, I would, I feel like there must be some like cosmic force that draws someone to the woman that created that bag in her story and, and the person here that buy it. Right? Yeah. 

[00:20:07] Aline: Like there must be’s so beautiful power. Yeah. That’s connection though. Love that. I love how you said that, like that connection of the person who bought the bag is connected to the lady on the other side of the world. Who made that me know. 

[00:20:19] Elise: I feel like there must be like, there must you talk. I mean, I think it’s so inspiring and honestly, like quite amazing, even shocking that you’ve been able to do as much as you’ve been able to do. And, and really, it sounds like a year, right. Year, July and August the yeah. 

[00:20:34] Aline: Idea July. I had the like trial trip in August, but this really started in September.

[00:20:41] Elise: like not even, yeah, not even. And how, and you’ve already been back there. What, three times? Like, it sounds like two, three?

[00:20:46] Aline: I went in September. I went in November. I went in February, March, and then I just went back again. Now I just came. 

[00:20:53] Elise: Okay. So like for, for some time already been able to do as much as you have been able to do it really. I mean, I think one, it’s a Testament to like you and, and your drive for sure. The community, like you mentioned here, but also like everything kind of aligning, right.

[00:21:10] Elise: A bigger force 

[00:21:11] Aline: at hand, a bigger. Yeah. Yeah. 

[00:21:13] Elise: What were you, were you, have you built a brand before this? Like what, or was this all learning as you go from the, from the business side of things? 

[00:21:21] Aline: I am still learning as I go, I am probably making a ton of business mistakes. Like I know what I’m good at. I know I’m good at, um, talking to people, telling the story I’m super, like, this is very genuine.

I’m super excited about everything I’m doing and I think is across. Yeah. Um, but. Like for the first, from September, till December, I was having a really hard time just keeping track of the financial side of it. I had to get my sister to sit down with me and create these Excel spreadsheets where I could like plug in as I go every single expense.

And now I love it. Every time I have an expense, I put it in every time I have sale, I put it in and I could track everything cuz it’s super important for me to be able to do that. Yeah. Um, and then like I had to create a website. I mean, I am the least techy person on the planet, so thank God I had a friend.

Helped me design that. But, um, I do want to have sort of a Shopify or online commerce going on on my website. Yeah. I dabbled with it a bit and it got, um, overwhelming to keep track of the inventory. Like if something sold there, I had to pull it out of here. I had to manage shipping. So yeah. Um, I’m gonna get back to that in the fall right now.

It’s not active. I’ve got some pictures of what I sell them that I’ve written like emailed me for more inform. But the way that I sell online is really through my Instagram. People see something, they like, they DM me. Mm-hmm um, and they ask to see a couple more pictures. We do a FaceTime maybe, or really like, I just send a whole ton of pictures and then people circle the bag that they, like.

They send me an e-transfer. I drop the bag off at their house. If they’re nearby, I’ve shipped, I’ve shipped a bag to really. Through my Instagram, like I’ll ship. Yeah. I’ve shipped to Vancouver, uh, LA New York. Um, so yeah, and then all over. So the red cell is the Instagram and then popups like yours. There’s one at distillery now at Yorkville, like there’s little popups like that all hosted popup in my backyard.

Or I’ve had friends host popups for me in their homes. Yeah. It’s just so grassroots right now. Um, it’s still very small. It’s just me. Like I have no volunteers, no employees, nothing like it’s me. Everything you see is me, which is a lot it’s, it’s a lot. It’s, it’s a lot. And thank God for my partner in Columbia.

Like I do have help there too. I don’t to manage. All that. Like he, you know, sets up the, the village trips for me, the driver, the whatever we need there, it’s all taken care of. I am so well taken care of when I’m there. Mm-hmm um, so thank God for that. I couldn’t manage that. 

[00:23:41] Elise: mm-hmm, that? I mean, it’s already a lot, so I can imagine it’s helpful to have like an on the ground navigator, 

[00:23:46] Aline: In, in helping, I need that. I would be able to do this without.

[00:23:51] Elise: So you have a, a, a small but mighty team then 

[00:23:55] Aline: yeah, that will that’s grow. 

[00:23:57] Elise: I’m sure gonna be growing with the success that you’ve had already within the year. So we, everyone knows that they could, uh, find you at the popup. Now, what are some other things that you online in the fall and, and if they see anything 

[00:24:11] Aline: On the Instagram, my Instagram, honestly, like I know, you know, we hate Instagram and we love Instagram, right? Yeah. but for me, for this business, it’s, uh, it’s, it’s really been the way that I’ve grown this business. It’s been, you know, when people post or repost and then their friends and followers will find out about me and then like, that’s really just how I’ve grown this brand. Mm-hmm , um, it’s been really important. 

[00:24:35] Elise: And if they’re find looking for you on Instagram, it’s. @alinewayuulove. Just so people, know where to find you.

[00:24:46] Aline: Thank you. Yes. Let’s let’s put out that Instagram handle lean. Why you love for sure. Yeah. 

[00:24:52] Elise: Well, any, any other fun and exciting things coming up for you in the next, the next half of this year?

[00:24:57] Elise: I guess you mentioned eCommerce on the website is something you’re looking at. 

[00:25:01] Aline: I’m hoping to be able to get that done. I hope to, I Instagram’s been so important for me and I know I need to get on Facebook. I just, again, I’m not techy and I have limited time, but I wanna, um, launch a little bit on Facebook as well.

I think that’ll be super helpful for me. Um, I’ll be doing. Some holiday markets. So I’m looking forward to that in November and December and in September and October, I’ve been invited to a couple of yoga retreats to sell my bags there. So just, oh, that’s great. Looking for more opportunities. Yeah. To reach new audiences, to, you know, partner with amazing other entrepreneurs, amazing other things happening.

Um, but the, the other thing. I’m most excited about is this little school that we’re building in the north of. I can’t wait. I can’t wait to go back to Columbia when they built that school and go visit and, you know, see how it’s working, see the kids in there and see again, the impact that we’ve made. Um, the other thing we’ll be doing is, again, in that one community that I work really closely with, um, when I visited them this time, they have a little school in their community and.

They built it wasn’t their last time they showed me, they built a small kitchen, so that, that when the kids come to school, they can feed them. So it’s just a very simple two room kitchen. They made it out of natural materials, but, um, they actually get a bit of rain. So the walls which are made of natural materials are starting to disintegrate.

So they want to cover it and cement. So they ask for a bit of help there to be able to purchase this event. Again. It’s if you give them the materials, they’ll do it, you know? Um, and then again, in the. They need pots and pans and plates and cutlery and utensil. So I said like, for sure, I’ll help out with that.

So, um, that’s amazing. I’m excited to see that little kitchen, you know, 

[00:26:36] Elise: um, when is come together, when, when is your next trip back? Is it like, would be the fall or 

[00:26:42] Aline: yeah, sometime in the fall. I’m not sure. It’s so hard to predict and, um, yeah, it’s too early to predict from now when things will fall into place.

Like it’s got aligned with my schedule and my family’s schedule. A lot of people in Columbia’s schedule, like everybody’s gotta be available when I wanna go. And it’s not always the case. So yeah, these trips, like the timing of them are quite tricky to plan, but when it comes together, it’s awesome. 

[00:27:03] Elise: Oh my gosh. I wanna go on a trip now

[00:27:10] Aline: one point, organize some sort of like. Little trip like that. I’ve got so many people who’ve expressed interest in that way. It’s funny. Yeah, I’m 

[00:27:15] Elise: sure. I’m sure. I remember hearing, um, the brand Toms, they, at one point had brought people on when they first started, they had brought people on and then it just got so big that they created this like virtual reality.

So people could see what the trip was like. So I’m sure at the rate you’re going and like a year you’ll have a VR experience of like 

[00:27:35] Aline: what the trip is like, you know what, that’s what I try and do though through the little videos that I put on my Instagram. Yeah. You know, I really try and give everyone.

Like a, a real true, honest look at what it’s like when I go in the desert, I put videos of the bags hanging and how I choose them. So people can see that process. Um, I’ve got videos of the kids playing and the women making the bags and, um, oh, that’s awesome. We, we shot some really cool videos this time when I was there.

So I can’t wait for those to come in and I’ll be posting those to see those. 

[00:28:03] Elise: Excited to see those well, we’re thrilled to have the line here for the month. I’m so excited at the popup. And so nice to chat with you and hear more about the story of how it came to be. It feels all very serendipitous and like you’re exactly where you need to be and supporting this community.

[00:28:18] Elise: So amazing. And congratulations to you.

[00:28:18] Aline:Thank you so much.

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