Paula Mendoza is a jewelry designer on a mission: in addition to creating incredible and unique pieces, she has a passion for working with the indigenous communities in her native Colombia. We are seeing a thriving community of Latin American women in New York and around the world coming to the forefront of entrepreneurship in sustainable fashion and beauty. Since our founder Geraldine is from Venezuela, we were so excited to have the opportunity to talk to Paul about her inspiration and what it means for her to be a Latin American female entrepreneur.
Her newest collection IANIMI is inspired from her own self-exploration with Ayahuasca. After she this deep emotional experience, she decided that it was so important for her to further her work with the people of her country and to shine a light on some of the communities in need. She says: "After ayahuasca – it definitely influenced my creativity, when you are under this kind of experience you connect so much to mother earth in a way that is very profound, so it definitely gave me inspiration." IANIMI means intuition in the Indigenous language of the Colombian Amazon. “I was doing it in an unconscious way, when I look at my roots I found myself deeply identifying. Before I wasn’t doing conscious effort – I was doing it in a very naïve way. Let’s be more conscious about the way we approach.”
Some of her daily rituals include two shots of coffee in the morning (she is Colombian after all), meditation "really helps to start my day in a way that's more focused", she likes to do a bath with sea salt to relax (insert link to PURSOMA salt). Everyday she makes her bed and then takes a shower. When asked about her definition of beauty, she said "Beauty for me is the expression of yourself – when you can express yourself. There’s an emphasis in our culture on looking good but I’m interested in what makes woman feel good, makes them feel empowered."
“I practice Transcendental Meditation. The way that David Lynch sees life – he’s surrealistic with the way he sees everything. I admire the way he involved everything with TM, he cannot direct a movie without meditating. I also I have a crush on him.”
On Music and Designing
I love the piano and the sax [she did an entire collection inspired by the saxophone]. I’m very into deep house. Classical music or jazz. I focus on trying to feel the design and get back to joy.
On Being Joyful
“I don’t remember the last time I was pissed off. I’m very lucky, I have a very good temper.”
“My approach to incorporating Colombia into my designs evolved over time, I did different trips and it was part of my DNA. Life started taking back to my roots – this is it, this is where I need to find my inspiration. A a year ago, I started working more with indigenous communities. I think Colombia is having an amazing time – it came from its people, every educated professional brings it back – they’re always back and forth. In the 90s the situation was so difficult – they had to leave the country to get a better life, and then got an education and they came back with this knowledge to invest in their country.”
On Her Dream Collaboration
“Working with Esteban Cortazar was definitely a dream so I feel very lucky working with him. I would love to do something with Stella McCartney.”
On Building A Business
“I have been doing this for 16 years, it’s quite an adventure and you learn so much in how you manage your time and relationships, and more if you are an artist and you don’t have a business background. 80% of it is intuition and going with your gut.”
“I travel 90% of the time so for short trips I try not to check a bag. Try to bring my rituals with me.”
“I don’t put a lot of make up, I do blush and red lipstick.”