It started a little something like this...
CIBADO bags began to take shape in 2007. This was a year full of many serendipitous moments, extreme highs and lows and a rather sudden life changing decision to move 2,000 miles to Colorado. Allow me to share with you some pieces of this story.
Early that year I was in my hometown of Philadelphia contemplating two (new) different paths paths to take. One was to dive deeper into my yoga studies in order to start teaching, the other was to design & craft leather bags. Little did I know that both paths would soon unfold pretty swiftly AND that they would develop in the tiny town of Hotchkiss, Colorado!
It all seemed a little crazy - I fully intended to pursue both interests in Philadelphia, where I was living. I even signed up for a leather working class when a rather sudden opportunity to attend a 5 week yoga Teacher training in Hotchkiss, Colorado presented itself. It was an opportunity I could not ignore. So, I postponed the leather working class, travelled to this rural western Colorado town and started my yoga teacher training.
It is here I met Dona, the woman who was to become my business partner. I was renting a room in her house during the yoga training. One evening she asked me to tell her about myself. I spoke of my desire to design and craft leather bags once I returned home. I shared with her that I had a background in apparel design and sewing and was anxious to start working with my hands again. While I had been working in the apparel industry it had mostly been behind a desk, a situation I was determined to change.
She was startled at hearing all this. Turns out she was working with leather, designing for a local bison Leather furniture company. Even crazier was that she had just started designing bags. She did not sew, so she had local artisans sew together her ideas.
I remember the moment vividly when she showed me her bags and the most precious leather doll. I am fairly certain I squealed with delight at her creations. I admired what she had started. We immediately bonded over an obvious shared aesthetic as well as a true love and appreciation for artisan craftsmanship.
Over the following weeks, during the evenings we continued to get to know each other and when the yoga training ended she made me an offer. Move to Hotchkiss, stay at her home and join her in working at the bison leather furniture company. Turns out they needed someone who knew how to sew and use an industrial sewing machine. All this with the idea that from scraps of leather acquired from our "day job" we could try our hand at bag makin'.
I said yes to this most unexpected snd fortuitious opportunity. I could not ignore the signs that pointed me to start anew in this small, beautiful rural town - brimming with more promise of opportunities than have ever surfaced in Philadelphia. I returned to Philly just long enough to pack my car, then drive westward & onward. And so it began, my westernly journey.
I don’t live in Hotchkiss anymore and Dona is no longer my business partner but I will never forget how this venture started, where it started and of course with whom it started.
Today I am the sole gal behind every stitch.
Wonder how the bags come to be? Not easily and not overnight - coming soon I will share that part of the journey. The process from never having made a bag before & never having worked with leather - it was a process! And still I continue to learn and grow at this craft.