A few months ago, I went on a journey to find some local artisans here in Masaya that could assist Quinn and I with making the LOOTB leather bracelets. After going to breakfast with Quinn, we decided to split up so that we could tackle all the tasks we had for the day. Quinn had to photograph and post the bracelets that we had so far to our online store and I was dedicated to getting our leather bracelets made.
I set foot with no destination. All I had was a lot of determination to find someone who could help me make the bracelets. I started walking away from town center and quickly the scenery changed. No longer were there colorful homes. There was no longer any tourists, nor bars & restaurants. I was completely surrounded by dirt roads, small homes and locals. I’m sure it was obvious that I wasn’t from Nicaragua but I didn’t care.
As I walked up and down the dirt streets of Masaya, I peaked into all of the open windows and doors in hopes to see someone working on something similar to what we were looking for. Many families were making tortillas or cooking massive pots of beans. Others were sewing, weaving hammocks or making pairs of shoes.
Some were even carving wood into beautiful pieces of art. I slowly approached each artisan one by one and asked if they could help me make the pulseras (bracelets) we wanted for LOOTB. Almost everyone said no but they all tried to help by directing me towards someone who they thought could assist me.
I have been walking around town for over four hours going door to door under the cloudless blue sky in search of assistance. Finally, I caught a break. A kind young local guy drew me a map that directed me to a man named Javier. The blazing sun was starting to go down, so this was going to be my last stop before heading back to Quinn. I took the map and trekked down the dirt roads one last time. Two blocks down the street and then another eight blocks to the right was my directed route to find the tan house near a pulperia that sells apples.
After 25 minutes of walking deeper into the local neighborhood of Masaya, I stood in front of a tan building and thought I had surely found it. I asked a group of boys out front who were making shoes if any of them were Javier. No luck. I then asked the ladies at the pulperia if they knew a Javier to which they gave me the same confused look and response as the guys making shoes: “No”. I asked the group of boys one last time and further explained what I needed him for. They went into the back of the house and then came out to tell me that Javier would meet me at the pulperia. I thought to myself, ‘Why couldn’t they have all just helped me the first time I asked?’
A couple of minutes later, one of the ladies at the pulperia introduced me to her brother Javier. I showed him our design drawings as well as our prototype bracelet and asked if he could replicate it. He said he could definitely do it and that I should come back in two days to check out the samples he would make us. Excitedly I agreed and left him my drawings. Filled with excitement, I ran all the way home thinking that this could be the family we need to really get this business going.