Today, I am featuring a colorful online boutique called LAMA (Latin America in the Modern Age) Designs which provides "specially curated finds for the culturally inclined." LAMA products are created by various artisans in Latin America. Christine, LAMA Designs' curator and creator, generously agreed to be interviewed by the Daily Etsian. (Be sure to check out the special LAMA giveaway at indie Fixx!)
1. Tell us about yourself. How would you describe yourself in three words? Born and raised in Los Angeles, I now live in Oakland with my boyfriend and our dog Miles. Much of my time revolves around LAMA so when I do have some free time, I enjoy doing simple things like playing Guitar Hero on the Wii with my boyfriend. I play the drums in our Wii band "Mañana Mentality" formerly known as "The Underbites" (inspired by Miles). Currently I play on hard but I hope to play on expert someday. I'm also obsessed with boba tea, getting pedicures and the internet. Three words to describe me? Ambitious, witty, and surprisingly shy.
2. What started Lama Designs? LAMA started out as one idea that completely changed after a trip I took to Ecuador. What started out as an unsuccessful business trip turned out to be the most important journey of my life. After meeting some incredible Latino designers and seeing their beautiful work by chance, I realized what LAMA was meant to be. I spent a year traveling all over South America to round up some of the best products I could find and what I felt best represented modern Latin American design. What started LAMA were a lot of punches I figured out how to roll with until the concept evolved to the shop it is now.
3. What continues to inspire Lama Designs? How do you find all these beautiful items?The designers I work with have always been the inspiration and driving force behind LAMA. I am probably their biggest fan. There is not a single designer that I work with who I don't admire completely. I feel so compelled to share their work with as many people as possible. In the beginning, it was so difficult to find some of their work so I had to do a lot of traveling and searching all over to find products. Once I found something, I had to figure out who the talented person was behind that product. Now, I have a lot of designers that approach me through LAMA. I love that it's so much easier to find each other now.
4. How do you pick items to be a part of Lama Designs? My approach to picking items is pretty simple. Do I love it and will my customers love it? Is it well made? Do I absolutely have to have it? Is the designer someone I want to work with? If the answers to these questions are yes, then I do my best to bring it into LAMA. Of course, I generally run my decisions by a few friends and family members with a good eye.
5. What do you value most from your adventure into indie shop-keeping? I value being able to express myself through LAMA. It's actually something I didn't realize I was doing for a while until a friend pointed it out to me. As indie shop owners, we curate our shops to reflect our own personal tastes, concepts and point of views so what we're really saying is "this is who I am and this is what I love. I hope you love it too." When the response is good, it's the best feeling in the world.
6. If you were an animal what would you be? A fluffy nine pound dog with a major underbite.
7. What would be your ideal day? I had the best fourth of July this year. The weather was perfect and I spent the whole day barbecuing and playing games in my backyard with a bunch of friends and neighbors. At night, we climbed up on the roof and launched bottle rockets and roman candles while watching firework shows happening all around us. It was so much fun. I could do that day over again. Definitely ideal.