Hello Juliette and Gaétan, tell us about your brand Pachamama.
Hello Thaki, we’re delighted to be able to introduce you to our project! Pachamama is a responsible fashion project that promotes Bolivian craftsmanship.
More specifically, Pachamama is an ethical brand of leather backpacks. All our models are made in Bolivia, in partnership with leather craftsmen based in La Paz. Through this project, we want to promote Bolivian craftsmanship while creating backpacks with a contemporary, urban style.
Why have you chosen to honour Bolivian craftsmanship?
After spending several months in Bolivia in 2017, we fell in love with the country, its rich culture and the kindness of its people! On our return to France, we thought about how we could promote this beautiful country, which is still little known in France.
And that’s how we came up with the idea of launching Pachamama! This project allows us to discover Bolivia and the richness of its crafts. It also allows us to continue travelling regularly to this country that we love so much, so that we can continue to develop our project with the artisans!
You say that Pachamama is a sustainable brand. What exactly does that mean?
We are committed to developing an ethical project that is part of a sustainable fashion approach.
On the one hand, all our leather backpacks are made in a fair way that respects the craftsmen. Our craftsmen work independently from their homes and set their own wages. This gives us the certainty that they are working in good conditions and are paid fairly, which is essential for us.
In addition, all our raw materials are selected directly in Bolivia in order to contribute to the local economy. And we only select high-quality materials! For example, we use vegetable-tanned leather. In addition to its positive environmental impact, this type of leather is very strong and particularly suited to our desire to make leather backpacks that will last over time!
What impact has Covid had on your business?
Like many projects around the world, Pachamama has not escaped Covid!
In particular, we encountered logistical difficulties that led to delays in the supply of our products and delivery to our customers. Fortunately, as this was a difficult time for many people, most of our customers were very understanding, and we’d like to thank them for that!
Pachamama has probably been less affected than other brands because all our products are made by hand. Even though it’s a slower and more costly way of producing, we’ve always favoured handcrafted products because it allows us to really make the most of the craftsman’s skills and produce high-quality products.
And it turns out that this has been an asset during periods of confinement. While many factories and workshops were closed, our craftsmen were able to continue making our backpacks in the safety of their own homes!
What attracted you to Bolivia?
One of the first things that won us over in Bolivia was the beauty and diversity of the landscape. Bolivia is a huge country with an incredible geography. Between the Amazon rainforest, the snow-capped mountains of the Andean high plateaux and the salt desert, there’s something for everyone!
Finally, Bolivia impressed us with its cultural richness. It is surely the most exotic country in South America, where many traditions are still firmly rooted in the daily lives of the inhabitants.
What do you think are the must-see places in Bolivia?
The Uyuni Salt Flat is, of course, a must-see. We were lucky enough to see it dry in 2017 and then the following year with a thin film of water. Both versions are breathtaking spectacles!
Finally, if you’re looking for a thrill, we recommend a trip to the top of Huayna Potosi – thrills guaranteed!