North Texas Daily

DFW resident exposes people to Colombian culture through Guajira Wayuu bags

DFW resident exposes people to Colombian culture through Guajira Wayuu bags

DFW resident exposes people to Colombian culture through Guajira Wayuu bags
October 25
10:32 2019

While on vacation in Mexico with her son, Karla Aguilera discovered Guajira Wayuu bags. The bags, which are hand-woven, feature vibrant colors and unique designs. They are made by the Wayuu people in north Columbia, and Aguilera uses the bags to bring a taste of their culture to Texas.

Karla Aguilera sells Guajira Wayuu bags from Grapevine. During the day, she works as a special education assistant at a school and sells the bags on the side.

Aguilera started selling the bags in January. She said she has always been a business person and enjoys the bags because they are artisanal and original. She primarily uses social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram to sell, as she makes more sales online than she does working events in the metroplex.

“I have sold more in one weekend where I promote myself and only pay 10, 20 dollars, than if I sit all day and pay 110 dollars and don’t sell anything,” Aguilera said. “People enter, look, only look and leave.”

Every once in a while, Aguilera participates in events because they help her get to know the area. She signed up for a November event in a school in Euless.

When Aguilera started selling Guajira Wayuu bags, she did not know much about the culture of Wayuu, but she said she has been able to learn more over time. The Wayuu people are from north Colombia. They are a group of indigenous people that dedicate themselves to hand sewing in order to make money. Aguilera said they start teaching girls when they’re young.

“[I learned] how they make [the bags],” Aguilera said. “The reality is we should value how people from our countries, not just Colombians, how they take so long making something yet aren’t paid well.”

Aguilera gets her bags from her distributor, Vivianne Murillo. Murillo is from Colombia but currently lives in Mexico. Aguilera said Murillo knows what is authentic and will send her whatever bags she needs to fulfill orders.

Aguilera sells Guajira Wayuu bags to people outside of Texas as well. Dina Figueroa, a client of Aguilera’s and a resident of Capewater, FL., found Aguilera through Instagram.

“I am from Colombia and know when the bags are quality-made, and hers are well-made,” Figueroa said.

Aguilera said that two of her customers are from Colombia, which is why they bought the bags. In Colombia they call them mochilas, or backpacks, instead of bolsas, or bags, Figueroa said.

Martha Molano is a resident of Carrollton. She works as a nanny and was happy to find that Aguilera was selling the Guajira Wayuu bags. Molano found Aguilera through Facebook. At first, she would meet with Aguilera in Grapevine, but the more they got to know each other they would meet at her house.

“She is an excellent vendor,” Molano said. “[She has] a great personality. [She is] very responsible and very punctual. [She] keeps her word.”

Aguilera enjoys being a salesperson and thinks she will keep selling. She said she hopes the bags will bring people more appreciation for Wayuu culture.

Aguilera’s bags can be found on Facebook at “Guajira Wayuu Bags Texas” or on Instagram at @guajira_wayuu_gpv.

Featured Image: GuajiraWayuu bags sit on display. Guajira Wayuu bags are a traditional handmade bag that originated in Columbia. Image by Quincy Palmer

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Raquel Villatoro

Raquel Villatoro

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