Newspaper Article on Made in Mogotes; First Craft Show

17 Oct

Hey guys! Sorry for my lack of writing lately. I’ve been busy making lots of new jewelry for the shop and got another shipment of bags made by Eliana in Colombia which I’m working on photographing and posting this week.

I’m also doing my first little craft show on Saturday (Oct. 22) at Payne Avenue Christian Church in North Tonawanda, New York. It’s from 10-4, Saturday only if you live nearby and want to stop in.

Also, I wanted to share this front page article on Made in Mogotes today from the Dunkirk Observer!

SUNY Fredonia grad forms business in Colombia

October 17, 2011
By MICHAEL RUKAVINA – OBSERVER Assistant News Editor , The OBSERVER

There are no seasons in Colombia.

Every night at 6 p.m., the year-round sun sinks below the mountains and the villagers of Mogotes chat on their doorsteps, swatting away mosquitoes. A small woman called Amilce switches on a low light, picks up her worn-out needle and a roll of fique and sets to work weaving a handbag, her children playing quietly in their bedroom. She has a custom order to fill from California.

It is the situation now taking place thanks to the ingenuity of Stephanie Sadler, a Fredonia State alum and North Tonawanda native. In August of 2011 Sadler launched an e-commerce business entitled Made in Mogotes, a platform for crafters in Colombia to help sell their work.

Her venture, however, actually began in London following her graduation from Fredonia State.

“It started after I left Fredonia. I moved to London and about a year and a half ago I met a Columbian guy and we kind of got pretty attached. When his Visa ran out he asked me to come to Columbia with him, so I said sure, why not. I quit my job and left everything behind and went to Colombia,” Sadler said. “While I was there I was on a tourist Visa and that meant I couldn’t work. We were in a tiny little village, middle of no where, so I wouldn’t have been able to find a job anyway. The first thing I did was take an artisan class on how to work with this material called guadua which is like bamboo, making jewelery.”

After discovering talent on the cobbled streets of Mogotes, Sadler said she realized their potential. Many artisans in Mogotes don’t have the English language skills or the Internet access they would need to sell their work beyond the borders of Colombia.

“I started meeting all of these women who were making these crafts and I thought they need somewhere to sell their stuff, to promote it, because it was just kind of sitting around in their houses and they weren’t doing anything with it,” she said.

“Someone suggested Etsy.com, so I started putting stuff on Etsy and people were interested. So I ended up making it an official business in Colombia.”

The products are colorful, handmade and customizable. There’s jewelry, handbags and wristlets, hair accessories and home decor. A very resourceful group, the artisans gather most of their materials from local plants fique, which is in the pineapple family and guadua, which is in the same family as bamboo.

Sadler, who majored in English and minored in journalism and business marketing at Fredonia, described the village of Mogotes as a town find through winding mountains with a dirt road entrance and large farms along side the road.

“You see the mules with sugar cane loads on their backs, and all the guys are carrying machetes in their pants,” she said. “You have the typical sombreros that they wear. Most Colombian little villages are surrounding a church, so there is a big central church in the square and then there are houses that come off of that.”

Sadler is currently living in North Tonawanda and communicates with her boyfriend back in Colombia via e-mail.

“I have a couple custom orders that they’re working on right now for people in California and Canada,” she said of the business some 2,500-plus miles away from her current location. “While I’m in New York I’m just trying to get the word out there and when I get orders I just give them by e-mail and then they send me the stuff.”

For more information on Sadler and Made in Mogotes visit one of the many websites available: www.etsy.com/shop/madeinmogotes; madeinmogotes.wordpress.com; andwww.littlecolombiaobservationist.com.

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