• ila b

Spotlight on emerging brands: Sustaining skilled craftsmanship through homeware+accessories

“N​ido Collective works with artisans in remote communities from Mexico and Guatemala using their ancient techniques to produce a range of rustic, contemporary homewares and accessories. By generating a world-wide market for their wares, we hope to encourage these communities to pass on their crafts to future generations. We believe Nido Collective can make a difference – creating a lasting, social impact by empowering artisans to work in a sustainable way, for a fair income.”

The admirable mission behind Nido Collective is to empower skilled artisans in a way that sustains them and inspires them to pass on their skills. Upon seeing their Instagram​ page, I was immediately interested in learning about the brand’s development, as they work to provide much more than beautiful home accessories. They also empower and inspire craftsmanship.

I truly believe that conscious brands, such as Nido Collective, have the power to change the world and heal our environment. And, lucky for me, I was able to get in touch with the woman who started it all: Olivia Campus.

In our interview, Olivia shared with me some information about how Nido Collective began, their future plans, and more!

How did the idea for Nido Collective come to be? What inspired the brand?

The idea for Nido Collective did not come about instantly. It was a process. Having never been outside of Europe, after graduating with a degree in Fashion & Textile Design, I decided to go travel South America with a coursemate. I wanted there to be a purpose to the trip so started researching potential NGOs which we could volunteer with. I was thrilled when I discovered Threads of Peru, a social enterprise working with indigenous weavers in the Peruvian Andes. We realised that we could help to tailor the designs to be more suited to current trends. Conducting a market research report, we made suggestions for a more considered colour palettes, designs and products. It was an experience which really opened my eyes to the rich culture of Latin America.

After travelling from Peru through Bolivia, Chile, Argentina and Brazil over the course of 4 months, I returned to London starting a career within the fashion industry.

I worked in buying at ASOS and within e-commerce at Liberty’s before making another trip to Latin America. This time starting in Mexico. Again, I was so inspired by the creativity which I experienced everywhere I went. Everyone seemed to be practising a craft. I joined a back-strap weaving course taught by a Mayan lady, whilst visiting Chiapas in the South of Mexico. After this, I was even more in awe of women who were able to weave so effortlessly on a backstrap loom – it did not come naturally to me despite my skills in other areas of textiles and dressmaking.

Throughout the journey I felt compelled to share what I had learnt with friends and family at home, bringing back as many textiles as I could fit in a case. I had received compliments every time someone saw me wearing or using something I had brought back from my trip. All I could think each time was “But there’s so much more I left behind!”

This time, on my return home I started to think more seriously about what I wanted from a career. I wanted 3 things. To do something rewarding for myself and others, to do something creative, and to be someone who doesn’t dread Mondays!

As a company that focuses on empowering artisans, how does that drive your business model/goals?

For me the most important thing is paying the artisan a fair wage. Without this, I cannot see the point in doing what I am doing. I am still in the early stages of launching my business and therefore seeing what works and what doesn’t in terms of sustainability.

This brand has given artisans the opportunity to cultivate their skills, spread their culture, and earn an income, which is already leaving an incredible impact... However, their work is just getting started.

They have done a lot to get to where they are now, and, as Olivia shared with me, they have much to do to expand.

Please share the impact that you hope to have on the world.

I hope to challenge consumers to think more carefully about their purchases, to consider the people behind the products they buy. I hope to encourage them to buy things which are not mass produced, for convenience, but to buy things with a story, where their purchase creates a positive impact on the lives of the makers and their families. If we can change spending habits to buying less, and choosing more carefully, we can make a positive change to both the environment in terms of consumerism and to the lives of artisans across the world.

Aside from promoting sustainability, they are creating quality products. In purchasing from Nido Collective, you can expect authentically and ethically made homewares and accessories. Their furnishings come from carefully crafted textiles, and their pottery is created from red clay gathered in the Oaxacan highlands.

Which products have the longest production time?

Production times vary depending on the time of year. For example, natural dyeing processes can take a lot longer in rainy season simply because it can take days for yarn to dry! I touched earlier on how time consuming backstrap weaving is so anything made with that technique is guaranteed to have a long production time. Our D​eshilado Table Runners​ take around 8+ days to make.

Here is a picture of me attempting to learn the technique.

I lasted no more than 10 minutes kneeling in this position before getting the worst pins and needles so I can only imagine what 8 days feels like.

Even longer is the production time of our ​Maguey Shopper.

Maguey, which is extracted from the Agave cactus is one of the original fibres people wove with in Mexico. These bags are woven using a technique called thigh spinning which literally involves twisting the fibre along the thigh into a coarse and durable cord. It takes one person two weeks to finish!

In the future, you can expect to see Nido Collective empower more artisans, inspire more craftsmanship, and continue to produce amazing, quality products!

What has been the most rewarding part of running Nido Collective? The most rewarding part has been getting to know the artisans on a more personal level. I have been welcomed into their homes. They have shared the traditions of their craft, their cooking and their language. To me there is nothing more rewarding than sitting around a table (or in some cases an open fire in the kitchen) with people who have grown up on the other side of the world, in an entirely different way to you; to find a way to communicate (when neither of your first languages is Spanish) and to find a common ground in the appreciation for ancient crafts and skills passed on from your parents, and grandparents and a mutual understanding of the importance of continuing to pass on these skills to future generations.

Nido Collective offers an assortment of unique products, each with their own story. As a consumer, you know that your purchases are purposeful, and that they will be supporting the hard work of skilled artisans. I hope Nido Collective inspires customers to visit the extraordinary places where their purchases are made, so that they too can experience the alluring charm of the landscape and the all-encompassing friendliness of the people which keeps me returning. At Nido Collective you’ll find that each item on their site has a detailed summary of its production details, so you know how carefully they’ve been crafted. By supporting them, you’ll boast intricate homeware accessories that are not only be beautiful, but thoughtfully –and ethically​– made.

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