Cinthya Flores, Founder
Cinthya is a San Francisco Bay Area native with Mexican roots and a love for culture. She has a BA in Social Work and a Masters in Global Entrepreneurship, which is what led her to meet the women late 2016. What started as a one year business development contract became a long term commitment to see the women's weaving cooperative grow. Cinthya started Utz Threads in order to stay connected to the cooperative and to create a space that allows for women to be the sheroes of their own stories.
Production Manager: Eduardo Aquino
Eduardo is a language junkie and entrepreneur who was born and raised in dreamy Antigua, Guatemala. He studied 4 other languages, Sociology and recently obtained a Bachelor's in Business Administration. He has a special interest in K'iche' religion and mesoamerican history, which is what led him to live in Chichicastenango, the mountainous region where the women are located. He was contacted by the cooperative in late 2016 as a consultant, and then assisted with the foundation of Utz Threads as a U.S. based brand. His goal is to be a part of creating more international visibility for Utz Threads and establishing a link to foreign markets.
Storyteller: Elena Laswick
Elena is a native Arizonan who has been based out of the remote Ixil <E-Sheel> region of Guatemala for the past three years. This region in particular captivated her because of its relative seclusion, natural beauty and woven wealth. So although she originally moved to Guatemala to work for a local social business, she stayed for the textiles and the people. Besides being passionate about supporting indigenous women and traditional techniques, Elena also enjoys painting, spending time with her parrot, snake and cat (although not all at once), traveling and discovering really good music. Elena has a BS in Biology with a minor in art and art history from the College of William and Mary in Virginia. However, she has been volunteering and working in the development sector since 2011, with a focus on marketing and communications for several different Central American NGOs and social enterprises.
Guest Photographer: Julie Houde-Audet
Julie Houde-Audet is a professional photographer from Kamouraska, a village in the province of Québec, Canada. Last year she began looking for women focused volunteer opportunities when she found Cinthya and the cooperative. She spent two fulfilling weeks learning about our partner weavers way of life through photography and immersing herself in the communities. "I’m thankful for all I’ve learned about the Guatemalan and indigenous cultures. Weaving is an amazing tradition and it has inspired me to learn about my own roots". Julie is passionate about craftsmanship, farming, plants, the slow food industry and baking. Her work can be found on her website and Instagram until we can bring her back to Chichicastenango!