meet designer & entrepeneur: Britini port

Photos: courtesy from UXIBAL

Hello there! I'm super excited with today's post. As a blogger I like to write about everything that inspires me, things that I find interesting, etc. So today I have a different kind of post.

 I discovered Uxibal on Instagram & after scoping her feed I fell head over heels when I saw all those pretty shoes! and I was instantly fascinated over the fact that they were from Guatemala! I get so excited every single time I see something typical from Guatemala, so I've been a fan of the brand for like 3 or 4 years now.  

So one day drooling over all of those pretty designs of hers, I was reading about the products and all of that stuff and I knew I had to pick her oh-so-brilliant brain!. So long story short recently I sent her an email, graciously asked for an interview, which she so kindly and graciously responded  to all my questions & now- here she is. 

I had a blast picking Britini’s brain & getting to know her and the Uxibal story a little bit better. She’s a true gem of a human & her brand its the! just read the interview and see it for yourself!.
So without further ado Ch-ch-check it out & be sure to show her some love at Uxibal!

Love, Nataly.

▸▸ Heey, so excited to have you on the blog! Let’s start with, what makes Uxibal unique from other brands?
Britini Port: We are different from other brands because we are committed to creating good products with a purpose. I want our clients that buy our shoes to know that they are wearing something that has a positive impact on those creating them and that they have the power to change lives through their purchases.
▸▸ So how did you discovered there was a tiny tiny but beautiful country called Guatemala, and why did you came? 
 BP: In 2010 I joined the peace corps and I was sent to Guatemala to work as an agriculture volunteer. For two years I lived in a small town called san luis jilotepeque (jalapa), where I worked with women’s groups teaching nutrition courses and planting small family gardens.
▸▸ How did you came up with the idea of a shoes and accessories brand?
BP:  wanted to find a way to incorporate the beautiful hand-woven textiles and designs into something that I could wear and that would appeal to international markets around the world. I had seen some boots with fabric in them and thought, why not try that with Guatemalan fabrics 
▸▸ How did you got started?
 BP: I started out small. I first found a boot maker working out of his house outside of pastores and asked him to make me 2 boots samples that I had designed. From there, I made a few changes to the samples he made me and then we made two more. I then started making the boots for family and friends, experimenting with different leathers and textiles and now, 2.5 years later I'm still working with the same boot maker in our own Uxibal workshop.
▸▸ Do you come up with the concepts for designing first or is it more of an unplanned thing? 
BP: For all of my designs, I start out with a sketch or photo that I can show to our pattern maker. From there, we work together to get a first prototype made. We then make changes and make another, then another, it usually takes us anywhere from 5-10 prototypes before we come to the final design. I also like to wear the shoes during this process to make sure that they fit right and are comfortable too.

▸▸ What kind of education do you have and where did you study?
 BP: I graduated from the university of Washington with a bachelor of science degree in environmental studies, minor in geography. I never really planned on going into design, but now that I'm doing it, I can't imagine doing anything else!.

▸▸ How did you knew this is what you wanted to do with your life?
BP: I spent my early 20's trying to figure out what to do with my life and trying a little bit of everything looking for what path. I went from teaching yoga, to making wine, to working on farms, and lots of other odd jobs in-between. When I started Uxibal however, it was the first time I was really able to do a lot of different things in one job. I love that I get to use my creativity with designing, style photo shoots, work with artisans, and so much more. It really is my dream job.

▸▸ Do you have any special goals with Uxibal? (inspire anyone, express yourself,etc).

BP: My biggest goal is to create good jobs in Guatemala. After living here for almost 5 years, I've fallen in love with this country and have realized all of the talent and potential that is here. The only problem is that many people here are working very hard to make a living and still not earning enough to rise above poverty or support their families. I want to change that. I hope with Uxibal we can employ a lot of people and give them the opportunity to improve their lives.  

▸▸ What do you hope to have achieved in 10 years from now?

BP: Ten years from now I would like to be a company recognized around the world for high quality shoes that have a purpose and a positive impact. I hope we can have hundreds, actually thousands, of employees that are all making a good living for their families, sending their kids to school, owning their own house, and overall living a good and happy life.

▸▸ If you had all the money and time in the world, what would you be doing right now?

BP: I would be doing the exact same thing I am now; I would just be doing it on a bigger scale. There are many things we are limited in doing because we are still a small company. But each day we grow poco a poco and that is good for now. 

▸▸ What advice will you give to someone who wants to start a company like Uxibal?
BP: can show to our pattern maker. For anyone that wanted to start a business I would let them know to stay positive and not give up. It is not easy to start a company, but it is possible and you really just have to believe in yourself.

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