Two brothers, Ryan and Eric Dedola, aged nineteen and twenty-two, fell in love with Guatemala and the idea of a socially conscious business that supports indigenous peoples, crafts and cultures. In the spring of 2011, the duo partnered up with Maria Pacheco and Queta Rodriguez, the founders of Guatemala’s progressive Wakami organization.
The Wakami brand was established in Guatemala in 2006 with a vision of empowering artisans to become entrepreneurs who can, in turn, influence their communities in a positive fashion. Combining dreams and opportunity, they aim for creative change. Their website says: “Wakami products are what we call messengers of connection— changing the lives of those who produce them and enriching the lives of those who wear them.”
This idea of connection brings remote rustic values to the urban-centered lifestyles of the modern world. It’s a microcosm of the concept of all creation being connected to each other and to the earth. Building relationships between cultures and helping impoverished artisans find their road to prosperity is fulfilling work, and these two American boys share the Wakami dream of “a world where diversity is celebrated, rights and responsibilities are treasured, and prosperity and security are attainable for all.”
The brother’s design team developed a special ‘Earth Bracelet’ series, which has the story of creation woven into it. It’s one of their most popular products. Each bracelet represents stages of creation from darkness, starting with earth, sun, moon and stars, water, wind, plants, animals, humans. Yet, that was not the culmination…as the brothers say in their video: “At the end of the day, there was still something missing, so love was created, connecting everything.”