“My name is Vilma Salazar de Navarro; I am a friendly, enthusiastic, hard-working and persistent woman. I was born in 1972 in Guatemala City. I grew up in a family made up of my parents and 5 siblings. My father was a merchant and draftsman in his spare time, and my mother a housewife who also sewed girl's dresses. They both always had good taste in the way we all dressed. Being the second oldest sister led me to take on many responsibilities from a very young age.
“I remember that, at 18 years old, in my first job, my family was going through an economic crisis, due to a recent car accident that my father suffered. When I went to work, I could only leave my mother Q5 for the day's expenses. I left it in an envelope and wrote "God will provide", and that's how it was. God allowed me to start my business, which sustained my family for many years. I think this formed in me a character of struggle, discipline and persistence.
“Since I was little I liked to draw clothes; I drew, and my mother made dresses. From my parents I inherited a taste for art and aesthetics. With a lot of sacrifice from my parents, I had the opportunity to study design, and it was there that I obtained the tools to start my path in the world of design and product development. The first garment I designed and sewed was a custom-made skirt, and I wore it until it deteriorated.
“I was always struck by aesthetics and beauty, transforming flat materials into three-dimensions with details that move the viewer, that raise the self-esteem of those who wear my products. My mother taught me the basics of art, and at university I expanded my knowledge. I have the experience of so many years in the field, and definitely God has gifted me with this talent. From 2003 to date (17 years) my husband and I have established this garment business. He is a graphic designer and has been the best partner. I also collaborate with him in my father-in-law's garment business.
“My favorite part is designing and drawing what I have in mind and transferring it to paper, then putting it in the mold like a puzzle, so that when you sew it you get something new. I am mainly inspired by the Mayan culture with all its artistic, architectural, and natural wealth. I work with any textiles, including recycled fabrics (I reuse materials such as scraps, with this we help not to litter our planet) and all the clothing supplies. I use a foot loom, as well as crochet and hand crafting techniques. I design and develop myself. Throughout my career, I have won first place as "Designer of the Year" and second place in entrepreneurship.
“In Guatemala it is not easy to establish yourself as an artisan, as there are very few opportunities. The appreciation of art is low, but good work has rewarded me and that is how I have grown. Guatemala is a small country on the map, but we are big in heart, in creativity, and in cultural richness. I am Guatemalan and my products can live up to any international quality, because we are hardworking people who seek excellence.
“I dream of exporting products that make Guatemala proud, employing people and transmitting art and aesthetics to interested people. I want people from different countries to know me for the use of colors, of typical textiles, and also for modern products and unique and novel trends. On a personal level, I would like to get to know new regions, visit art galleries, and teach children of the churches I attend about moral and spiritual values.”