Fernanda Escobedo, mother of two girls, created together with her sister, a couple of cousins and an artisan friend, Agua de Chile, a brand that aims to promote the textile art of the country, through baby clothes embroidered by Mexican women .
A mother of two girls, who had recently arrived from Germany and with a deep passion for everything that was done in Mexico, took her savings and proposed to her sister, a communications specalist, to start a business.
However, they realized they needed extra help, so they decided to make an alliance with two cousins, a textile designer and a tax specialist. Soon after, the centerpiece of the project would arrive: an artisan.
This would be the beginning of Agua de Chile, a brand of baby clothes that fuses fashion with the traditional art of Mexican embroidery.
What is Agua de Chile and what´s the technique?
Agua de Chile is a clothing brand for babies and children with Mexican embroidery 100% handmade by artisans’ women from Puebla. The technique used by the community of artisans with whom we work has been passed along from generation to generation and is based on counting, planning and the arrangement of each stitch that they need to make on the fabric. So you can understand it better, imagine that you had a piece of fabric composed by thousands of squares, and to make possible any embroidery (figure or shape in it ) it is necessary to give a numerical value to each box. Making this, the women transform each value into a stitch giving life to the most beautiful forms.
Through this complex technique, we seek to promote the preservation of Mexican embroidery and contribute to handmade and artisan production in order to promote the development of Mexican women who, with their talent and effort, contribute to the national heritage.
The brand provides the artisans all the necessary material for the creation of the embroidery, such as the fabric on which it is to be embroidered, the threads and needles. Once we have everything we take care of making the assembly on the garment, this means, the embroidery is not patched; everything is made from scratch, unifying everything to the same piece. With this complex process we achieve that the embroidery does not touch the baby’s skin, avoiding possible irritations and get to offer our clients the best product quality.
What does agua de chile mean to you all? How did you all come up with the idea of creating agua de chile?
For us Agua de Chile means a lot of things: opportunities, tradition, fashion, entrepreneurship,empowerment and above all, stories that were able to connect because of Agua de Chile.
Behind agua de chile there’s a story that really matters.. And that’s the story of the women that make everything possible. As is very usual in Mexico, men of these communities have to go out of their homes to search for work, some of them go to United States and some of them go to Mexico City. This family dynamic has been going on for many years in our country, but lately the dynamic has changed: many women are also starting to do the same, they go out of their homes and leave their children with their grandparents in order to have a better income.
This particular situation was one of the reasons why we thought about creating Agua de Chile. We planed from the beginning a different way of working: Give to these women the chance to work from their homes, so they can have the balance between work and family. We don’t have workshops or specific working hours; they can work from their homes at their spare time and have the chance to be with their families while making something that will give them an extra income to their homes.
Mexico is going through a transformation in terms of design and aesthetics by re-inventing the therm “Made in Mexico”. How is Agua de Chile following this change?
Different to what many people believes, for us, the concept “Made in Mexico” goes beyond from having one or several mexican elements, for example in a piece of clothing, like our embroideries. The concept has gained incredible strength so this has lead to incredible design and product proposals from mexicans that dignify our country and its talent.
Agua de Chile follows and joins this trend by ensuring that our garments follow the highest quality standards. We follow in detail each element of our product to offer the best to our clients. When someone buys Agua de Chile, we want this person to realize that “Made in Mexico” is well made.
What do you think has been the most important thing you have accomplished so far?
Definitely these last two years, as they have been filled with lessons, errors, defeats. But we have learned a lot. For us, one of the most important things we have achieved is to have the opportunity to bring our brand to different countries and cities… you may wonder why that in specific? Well, to be able to have made our brand available and a shopping choice for families and / or individuals, this, was made with huge effort, little by little we have been able to cross borders so one of the most beautiful and complex traditions in Mexico is known: 100% handmade embroidery.
We believe that making our brand available on different sales outlets, to have accomplished positive reactions from the media, to have the support from influencers and being accepted in Amazon Handmade, has helped us to earn the confidence of people. This makes Agua de Chile a top of mind brand and this gives us the opportunity to keep providing these wonderful female artesans, with their knowledge passed through generations, the work they need.
Which has been the most recurrent stereotype you have had to deal with as an entrepreneur?
The famous phrase “you can do whatever you want” is a huge myth among entrepreneurs. While we have the fortune of controlling our schedules, we also realize that it is YOUR effort and YOUR commitment what will make or break your company. You have to work day and night to make it work and there are many moments with incredible stress as you need to keep reinvesting every gain and you do end up sacrificing many other things.
Another one is the famous “give it to me at a lower price”. Unless you have an own business, you don’t really understand how painful that sentence is. Usually people don’t know what entails producing something from scratch. Taking an idea and transform it into a tangible product, the exhaustion, the investment and the effort behind it.
What are strong work ethics for you?
Family values are the most important thing for us. We translate this in our way of work since for us is of highest importance that women artisans are able to earn an extra income without the need to leave their families.