People make up our communities, but small businesses help it thrive!
This week, I’d like to introduce you to a small business here in University Hills, Kinship Market. We all love supporting wholesome businesses that are doing good in this world, and this one in particular has all the “feel goods” and generosity we love to see as well as some amazing products! From handbags to clutches, pillows to blankets, chocolate to die for and much more in between. You’re going to love the unique styles, and you’re going to learn the stories behind their products. Check out their full line of products here.
Tom and I had been to Guatemala on several separate occasions for mission-based work with our friends at New Denver Church, we have a partnership with Vida Real church in a small, undeserved village called San Pablo la Laguna. The trips are always moving and inspiring, and since we’ve had a relationship established for several years, doing something on a deeper and more consistent level with them made sense.
We met to discuss this idea on a fateful April morning. Tom wanted to start something new that had Guatemala connections. And I (Breanne), having a design background and a deep passion for Guatemalan culture and art, had been looking into starting something utilizing the textiles of the country to spread awareness of their artful nature. When we realized that our values, passions and love of the Guatemalan people were on similar tracks we decided to start Kinship Market and Kinship Chocolate together.
We’re still getting started and spreading awareness by connecting with local businesses, participating in vendor markets, and carving out our place in the online world.
We source textiles and chocolate from Guatemala. While the “fair trade” trend has been around for awhile, we are taking that concept to another level. We can tell you who made the bag you’re purchasing, what region the materials or cacao came from and who is impacted by your purchase. These businesses are about the makers and their stories.
We’re also different since we’re a nonprofit. 80% of proceeds from Kinship Market will be going back to the school we support in San Pablo to further education efforts (teacher resources like curriculum, trainings, and continuing education since most of teachers at Vida Real have very little, if any university education). Kinship Chocolate is a “for-profit” and will be donating 10% of proceeds to Guatemalan educational efforts.
My favorite product is our handmade zipper pouches with leather, we met their maker Lidia in the market of Chichicastenango. She is a true designer in how she is repurposing their traditional fabrics for new markets, like buyers in the USA. My other favorite product – from Kinship Chocolate is our 70% dark chocolate with coffee, it’s amazing!
The creative energy that flows when working together and when working with people from other cultures. The fact that our respective families are also part of this big, new adventure.
“I have always had a sense for adventure and traveling the world. Thanks to over 20 years working for a wine distributor in Colorado, I’ve had several opportunities to visit different wine producing countries of the world. In October 2014 I took a mission trip with my brother’s church to Honduras, and my life was forever changed. I was able to return to Honduras and work with the same people of Santa Rita in February of 2015. I later learned that my church was leading a group to San Pablo La Laguna, Guatemala in March.
While in Guatemala, I fell in love with the beauty of the people in these communities. Over the past 4 years, I have traveled back to Guatemala on numerous occasions to work with the people of San Pablo and study Espanol. Now, I devote my time to continuing my education, learning Mayan culture, and working with our partners in San Pablo La Laguna. My experiences in San Pablo have taught me the importance of building relationships and working side by side with our Central American friends. The birth of Kinship Market is the next step in growing our relationships and reaching more people in Guatemala and the world.
“I come from a design background with a passion for beautiful creations. Whether found in nature, art, books, or even a really good cup of coffee. My obsession with textiles began while interning at a fabric showroom in college. This is where I developed extensive knowledge of nearly every type of fabric. My love for Guatemala began at a later date. But as a culmination of many life experiences including having a family, becoming a surrogate, and exploring sole proprietor entrepreneurial ventures (in events and floral design).
The statement that lingered in my mind after two mission trips to Guatemala was, “Someone should be doing this…”. I didn’t know what “this” was or what it would entail. But that statement inspired a rabbit hole dive into fair trade companies and practices in Guatemala, lots of research into Guatemalan history, discovery of their rich fabric traditions, the stories attached to this art form about the people and villages around Lake Atitlan. And finally the courage to act on that statement. My quest for knowledge and desire to scratch beneath the surface of inquiry led to this collaboration with Tom.
University Hills is a great neighborhood and we have so many special people that contribute. Feel free to check out all the happenings here. And if you have any questions about our great neighborhood, I’m always here to help!