Copy of About Us
"We employ local female artisans within two Andean communities that each specialise in making different handmade products"
Our company was founded in 2013, and has since grown from being a specialist producer of handmade alpaca goods, to a prime crafter of authentic Panama hats.Our goal is to make Panama hats modern, stylish and trendy, whilst maintaining the tradition and history of how they are crafted. We want to make Panama hats available for all. Since inception our brand has had a strong focus on socio-economic development, female empowerment, and sustainability. Azuaya continues to dedicate itself to those three principles.
About the Azuaya Brand
Azuaya is a brand with heart, based in the UK and Ecuador. We employ local female artisans within two Andean communities that each specialize in making different handmade products. Our artisans are the best at what they do, with one community producing authentic Panama Hats, and the other making beautiful alpaca shawls, socks, and blankets.
Each alpaca product and Panama hat is hand-woven with time, love and care to make sure it reaches the high standards of quality set by Azuaya. Our artisans are specialists in what they do and have a huge amount of combined experience between them to ensure that the product arriving at your home or in our retailers is exactly how you expect it.
Sustainability is also a key aspect of Azuaya. We are committed to preserving a way of life that has existed for centuries. Our artisans use techniques that have been passed down from generation to generation. The weaving technique used to make our hats is part of the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The receipt of this status highlights the importance of preserving these traditions. We further this commitment to tradition through emphasising the importance of the use of hand in the production process.
We initially started working with one community producing our alpaca products. Then, in March 2015, we expanded our product range to be able to offer even more fashionable items that speak to the principles with which we started the business. We decided to employ previously independent artisans that had been making traditional Ecuadorian hats from toquilla straw.
By bringing work to the talented craftswomen in the villages in the Ecuador we are helping to alleviate poverty for Andean communities. Our Panama hat workshop is in Cuenca, Ecuador while the small village where the alpaca products are made by hand is located high in the Ecuadorian Andes.