WATI collective works directly with skilled artisans from Colombia to share their work and tell their stories.
We are an evolving business and our vision is to support our artisans to create sustainable income to support themselves and their communities, while preserving their rich culture and traditions.
Our aim is to create meaningful connections, inspiring and building awareness around the intricate process and design of our crafts and the lives and traditions of their makers.
We believe everyone should know the story and journey of the things they buy - we make sure our story is a positive one that benefits all those involved.
We are a Colombian- British family currently living in the U.K. We have lived and travelled extensively in Colombia and WATI collective developed from an idea into a big dream on our last family trip in 2017.
As makers ourselves, we have always admired the skill of Colombian artisans, along with their rich cultures and traditions. Through our many adventures and encounters, last year, we found ourselves in Nabusimake - the sacred valley of the Arhuaco people, high in the mountains of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Here, we heard directly from the Arhuaca women, the challenges they faced in selling their crafts, and the struggle of meeting their basic needs as individuals and families.
This is when we decided to find a way to support these incredible women, and work with other skilled artisans who faced similar challenges.
From here, we began to meet with other indigenous artisans and started to bring Colombian crafts back to the U.K with the purpose of building sustainable income for artisans, while cultivating a sense of connection to the culture and traditions from which the crafts derive.
We have seen the increase in tourism and interest in Colombian culture boom in the last few years, but many artisans are still struggling to find outlets which pay them fairly for their work. In some cases, increase in demand and production has even driven the price of slow- made traditional crafts down, as cheaper and often synthetic replicas are being produced.
For all of our artisan groups, their crafts are much more than a beautiful object or something to be sold, they are expressions of their cultural values and beliefs.