How Espiritu Culture Is Conquering the Huarache Making Business
Espiritu Culture is a brand that was created after its founders completed a long spiritual journey through Southern Mexico. The brand is inspired by the connection both CEOs, Oscar Yapor and Frank Ferrer, felt with the earth, universe and its people. Hence, came the decision to mix their love for fashion and shoes with that of a spiritual journey, and make it a thriving business.
Espiritu Culture products are made to notably mirror spirit and emotion, but also to create a positive effect and great fashion vibes. But those are not the only reasons this business has a great foundation behind it. The company works hand in hand with skilled artisans and indigenous communities in the production of its handmade huaraches on a fair-trade business.
MiLLENNiAL sat down with the Espiritu Culture duo to discuss more of their shoe making business.
Tell us about your shoe brand and the story behind it.
Oscar: Espiritu started after we visited a small artisan community in the South of Mexico. Their main product were these beautiful huaraches which immediately caught our attention. We both bought a pair and carried on with our journey. We realized how comfortable they were and how the leather stretched to mold around our feet for a perfect fit. When we went back home to Denver ( where we resided for a while, now were are in LA) we started getting lots of attention because of our colorful and unique shoes. Everyone wanted a pair and were asking us where they could get some too. I remember answering at that time that we honestly had no idea how they could get them in the US.
Frank: We had an idea of setting up a fair-trade deal with communities to help hem out and sell their shoes in markets over weekends. Interest in this community kept growing and so we decided to start drafting a few designs to show to this indigenous community and see if they would be willing to make them. We flew back to visit them and show them what we were working on on our side and they immediately showed interest and began making samples.
How did you come up with the name Espiritu Culture?
Oscar: It all came to us very organically, we were sitting in the living room one day brainstorming trying to come up with something that would represent the urging of the company and also the product but we couldn’t think of anything. Then one day after work we came home and one of us shouted, ESPIRITU!
Since this project dates back to that spiritual journey we went on; the project itself is a spiritual project in which we aim to help other people explore their spiritual life, and is also in Spanish so we saw fit to name our company Espiritu.
What motivates you to work and contribute to the Mexican culture with your products?
Frank: Well we are both Mexican, and we lived there for most of our lives. We’ve always been incredibly passionate about our culture and all it has to offer but very few people really know about it. So we wanted to share some of the arts and culture that we cherish the most. We started with huaraches but now we’ve added artisan products and plan to continue adding.
Describe Espiritu shoes and what makes them special.
Oscar: Espiritu believes that energy is transferred from our huarache soles and into the soul. That is why our shoes are handmade with heart and mirror the authenticity and fundamentals of culture and nature. Everything from the product itself to the packaging is crafted with immense attention to detail so that when you receive your merchandise you can experience the heart of Espiritu as you unbox your handcrafted treasure.
Frank: Espiritu huaraches are made using top of the line materials. Our huaraches are handmade using genuine leather, triple cushioning, arch support, crepe soles and vegetable based dyes. We use the best of the best so you can look and feel the best!
What can we find you doing when you are not working?
Frank: Well it will be hard to find us not working but whenever we have some free time we like to hang out with friends, read, learn a new software, play music, go for hike or work out.
What are some of the challenges you have faced as entrepreneurs in the fashion industry.
Oscar: Well there’s been many. For example, none of us had an idea about how to start a company, let alone a fashion company. Also our ages, because we’re still fairly young (or at least most people call us that, we are 25) some people don’t treat us as seriously as we treat them.
What is the ultimate goal you wish to accomplish with your work.
Frank: To promote the arts and culture of fair trade paid artisanal communities at a top-quality level across the world.
We like to direct our work towards something bigger than us so we pay our highly skilled artisans fair trade wages and look to start our own nonprofit in the close future.
Share some tips for upcoming entrepreneurs.
Oscar: Start your startup as a side hustle but don’t be afraid to make it your main, look at your financials and once you’re ready put all your effort into it and don’t turn back. No matter how far it seems like you are from the goal stay patient and work your hardest everyday.
Irais Urias is a multimedia journalism student at The University of Texas at El Paso. She has a strong interest in travel and street photography and hopes to enhance her skills around the world after graduation. When she is not working you can find her at the gym or practicing yoga.