From Women’s Collective to Women’s Collective

Tuesday, September 2oth, 2011

Sunny and Hot! Unheard of here in SF!

1 cup of coffee + 1 fruit smoothie

Last week we received a long awaited package in the mail that traveled a very far distance. It was a box containing 50 straw bodies that were woven to order by a women’s weaving collective in Sig Sig, not far from the city of Cuenca in Ecuador.

The mountain town of Sig Sig

I may have mentioned going there in a previous blog, but what I didn’t mention, so as not to jinx it, was that we had placed a tentative order with the collective. It took a while, even with a translator, to get across what we were looking for, which was very specific, and for which there was not a single sample in their big warehouse converted from a hospital.

Hat bodies, or campanas

Originally when we walked into the space I saw a poster with a great message on it that made me hope we could form a relationship with these women.

"Hands that weave the straw, hands that weave the life, hands that weave the history"

Immediately after seeing this poster in the hallway, you are brought into a courtyard where sits the largest straw hat in the world!


Past the hat was the warehouse full of female workers, young and old, all doing different tasks. The first woman we happened on turned out to be the president of the company, Marlene. She gave us a tour, and we started the negotiations.

Paul 1 and 3 with Marlene

Having now received the campanas, we are going to start blocking them into finished hats! There are 50 total, ranging in sizes up to 7 1/2 with varying brim widths. If you want a custom straw hat that is extremely special because it has passed only through the hands of women’s collectives, then email us at, or give us a ring at 415.221.5332. These hats will sell for under $300, and they are unbleached, raw bodies, so fresh that they still smell like Ecuador…..ahhh…..

~ Paul