Accessories Brand Pura Utz Empowers Women in Guatemala

by Hannah Haghighi

The name “Pura Utz” perfectly encapsulates the essence of the Copenhagen designed, Guatemala based brand founded by Anna Andrés. Translated into English, the phrase “Pura Utz”, which is a mixture of the Spanish and Mayan languages, is “an expression of good - quality - amazing”., which is exactly what you will find while scrolling through their seemingly endless selection of items. Anna was instantly captivated by every aspect of life and culture in Guatemala upon her first visit at just eleven years old. After working and volunteering there as much as she could throughout her early adult life, and even writing her thesis about the reproductive health of the Mayan women, she began her journey of founding the Pura Utz brand in an effort to give back to the women of Guatemala. All of the products produced by this brand are handmade by local Mayan women, and are typically either redesigns of vintage handwoven textiles, or new and unique and vibrant designs based off of Guatemalan items and patterns that would typically be found there.

Founder Anna Andres of Pura Utz

Brand founder Anna Andrés explains that the basis of Pura Utz is to “acknowledge the existence and worth of the women we work with ... we want to empower the women who wear our design.”. The brand is affectionately known by its founders and supporters as “the empowerment project” because although Pura Utz is a major source of income for the women in the communities in which the products are developed, their values reach far beyond the monetary aspect of the business. The development of this Pura Utz has allowed the talent of the artisans behind their products to be recognized at an international level. Not only do these women get to share their art with the world, but they are also able to be recognized and acknowledged by the world for their beautiful craftsmanship.

Luckily for consumers, something that comes with buying from Pura Utz is the assurance that the product purchased will always be handmade. This allows for authentic imperfections that can never be replicated by a machine, making each product one of a kind. Pura Utz puts extra emphasis on the importance of color in their designs. This is done to protect the essence of the Guatemalan culture that the brand was founded on, and to illustrate the luscious and vibrant lifestyle of the Mayan people. Whether it is a pair of beaded chili shaped earrings, or a practical (but undeniably funky) animal print bag, Para Utz accessories add the perfect pop of color into your everyday look. A fun sidenote- part of the funds made from the chili earrings goes toward a project that helps to feed the elderly of San Atítlan! Most of their products support projects similar to this one, which makes the price tag worth every penny.

Pura Utz harbors feelings of confidence by enabling the women they employ financial self sufficiency, where they may not have been able to achieve it otherwise. Thanks to this, these women are able to support themselves and their families. Andrés verifies that the thought behind Pura Utz is, “not just about the money, it is about acknowledging existence and worth.”. Pura Utz thrives on the idea of connectivity, both physical and cultural. Their locally Guatemalan products have been distributed around the world, crossing borders and bringing the vibrant colors of Guatemala to every corner of the globe. Pura Utz thinks of this as closing the gap between, “what we with stigma name the ‘first world countries’ and the ‘third world countries’, but also all the worlds that present themselves in the encounter between people and cultures. It's a connection to the world around us and it’s a search for meaning and an attempt to integrate it all.” As consumers, it is important to look into the ethics and morals behind the company you give your business to. While looking at Pura Utz through this lens, it is easy to want to support a company that promotes women, equality, and most importantly, treats people with respect and dignity, all while providing the world with accessories inspired by the beautiful, talented women of Guatemala.