Paula & Felix live and work in Southern Peru, near Lake Titicaca. Their home workshop is pretty special! From the top level, they have a sweeping view of Lake Titicaca, one of South America's largest lakes straddling the border between Peru and Bolivia in the Andes Mountains.
Most of their family lives in the one building, including their daughter Cecila with their beautiful granddaughter Zoe who lives in the apartment on the second level.
Meeting Paula and Felix was one of our more random encounters in 2017. René and I were walking around Puno, a city in southern Peru considered the 'regional trading hub', when I wandered into a quaint little store and chatted to the warm-natured woman inside who told us her name was Paula. After sharing with her our brand and that we were in Peru to find new people to collaborate with, she told us that her family produces Alpaca textiles and that the products in their store were made by her husband, Felix. Paula arranged a time for us to go to their house later that day and introduced us to Felix and their home workspace.
We learnt that they come from generations of artisans and all their immediate families worked in textiles. Their daughter (also called Paula) has her store in another part of Puno, and their son Reynaldo also works in the Alpaca textile industry. Their niece Veronica also comes to help them out in busier periods, taking the bus a few hours from another town.
We started working with them straight away, organising designs for them to sample. We later went to production with their samples and have had a very successful, evolving relationship with them since then.
Of all the artisans we work with, we have spent the most time with the Mamani family. René stayed in their house for 10 days during one trip. In 2018, we spent a lot of time with them in their home - sharing meals, playing games, having drinks, and taking a few day trips to different areas surrounding Puno.
One of the most memorable day-trips was visiting hot springs around 1.5 hours away from their home. I remember that day Paula shared a lot of knowledge about the local land and natural medicines that grow in the area. She is very knowledgeable about natural remedies as that is very much part of their heritage.
Paula is La Sierra’s right-hand woman in Peru. She is so helpful, sweet, kind and caring. A very maternal woman with the kindest heart. Felix has a calm nature and can be very funny. Every Sunday is his personal day when he takes off to go and play soccer and have drinks with his friends.
Paula and Felix make a great team, and La Sierra is lucky to be working with them and have formed such a strong connection with them over the years.
Their work environment is safe and very comfortable for them and their workers. Whilst Felix is the main maker, Paula is the business manager for the family!
Paula and Felix specialize in alpaca textiles and have inherited their craft from their ancestors. They are dedicated to preserving these traditions by using only the finest materials and employing time-honored techniques to create our unique, high-quality pieces that are both beautiful and functional.
By supporting these artisans and their work, we are helping to ensure the continuation of their craft and the preservation of a cultural heritage that has been passed down for generations.
We believe that by investing in these skilled artisans, we are not only providing them with a sustainable livelihood, but also contributing to the preservation of a rich cultural legacy for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.