"In life, perseverance to achieve your goals and discipline to achieve them is the basis of success.
“My name is Xenia López. I was born in El Puerto La Unión located in La Unión, city of El Salvador in 1996. I consider myself a disciplined and responsible person. From my mother I learned discipline and perseverance; and to respect people, to value work, to link myself with social work and with the rights of teachers and students. I learned to dream of a more just world for all and under equal conditions to live in harmony with nature. And she taught me a love for leather products. My father took me in the afternoons to bathe in the sea. I grew up with the sea, the Conchagua volcano, the grass and the livestock. Since I was little I was very close to my grandmothers, which brought me closer to nature; because I learned to respect animals, the river, trees, planting work and the fruits of the labor.
“I learned by observing the techniques and through practice; I also received training to be an integral artist. I taught the art of making these products in a vulnerable community to support self-employment in El Tamarindo, in the coastal area of the municipality of Conchagua.
“I think that like many other artisans, unemployment gave us the opportunity of self-employment and to develop our artistic skills and express our identity through our products. At the beginning we made mistakes, but practice has made us improve our quality. It is very difficult to start from scratch, and perseverance in improving every day is always a challenge. In this effort we have had the support of institutions, cooperatives and organizations that have believed our project is important.
“We work in the manufacture of natural leather pieces. We have been working for almost 8 years and we have our own workshop. I remember that my first work was a purse. We use leather and sheepskin, and we buy them in the national market, thus contributing to the local economy. The products are made by hand; industrial machinery is also used, but hand-processing predominates. I am mainly inspired by nature and its shapes, colors and textures to design the products. I relate my products to the livestock of my country; the department of La Unión is the one that has the most heads of cattle and produces the most milk, according to the latest census of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock. We are used to the use of leather goods and saddlery that are employed in agricultural work. By promoting the circular economy to avoid consumerism, we help the environment.
“The human being is constantly improving personally, as well as socially and spiritually. All these experiences strengthen us and create an identity that we express through our art. I dream of working tirelessly to position the making of leather goods as a technique from which we can create beautiful and high-quality objects, so that this craft is recognized and to position our products internationally through the NOVICA platform. What motivates us is being able to offer people a tailored product that meets their needs, seeing the joy on their faces, and receiving praise for our work. We always analyze each model, and try to continually improve by raising quality control.
“I am grateful to Novica for this opportunity for our country and for artisans, and so that through leather goods we have an opportunity to improve ourselves.”