Respect. Revolution. Love Wins. Practice Peace. In the north of Colombia live the Zenú- an indigenous group of people known for their fine skill with the cana flèche plant, who are busy weaving our popular cuffs with words dancing all over them. Words to live by, to keep on your arm and remind you daily of that to which you belong. It’s an amulet for this era, and at $8 a pop, our fastest selling anything - drawing children and adults of all ages wanting to give voice to their values.
Team Ibu conjures new words; Marisa makes a long list, adds an order of plain decorative cuffs without words to complement them, and sends the list off to Magno, our amazing English-speaking link to the Zenú Indians. To the Zenú these words are simply lines and shapes - they don’t speak English, after all. Imagine our fun when looking through a pile and we find a HASTAG. Who needs that extra H anyway? Austin slaps the Hastag cuff on his arm and off we go on a trunk show trip. Hastag becomes our code word on the road, an ibu insider joke.
Then, one day, Magno sends us the picture above, with lots of laughing emoji. The artisans have woven a mass of cuffs - the large decorative cuffs Marisa requested. But they have written on them: LARGE DECORATIVE CUFF. And on the skinny ones: SMALL DECORATIVE CUFF. !!! 50 or more, in fact. While Magno was away, the Zenu were working madly on the decorative cuffs, but kind of overshot the goal.
Words will sometimes fail across our worlds of differences. But beauty prevails. Skill and perseverance win. Their hope is not in words, but in the relationship we have built with them, and the market we have found for their unique product.
I wear my Large Decorative Cuff proudly, reminding me of how hard we are all working together to create opportunity, how we all make mistakes, how laughter wins. We love Hastag. FASHIOH was also spotted among a batch of FASHION cuffs. Amongst our crazy clan, the misspellings are like Four Leaf Clovers we love to find.
But all of the other words are shining too. May I suggest a few ways to gift these with humor and affection to those on your holiday list? I like to use one word and put a plain decorative cuff on either side. Or use two words and one plain one inbetween. It’s the perfect gift. Here goes my stab at it, though the fun is to make up your own!
Charlotte Moss came up with her two favorites which we’ve recently added: WHY NOT? (stirring all kinds of conversation) and XOXOXO which came out beautifully. Ali McGraw chose BE PEACE, always a favorite.
MY SUGGESTIONS FOR GIFTING OUR COLOMBIAN CUFFS:
to a service provider..... STAY GOLDEN
to grandchildren..... LIVE STRONG
to teachers..... CREATE REVOLUTION
to one going off to a new school..... INSPIRE HOPE
to a family brood gathering for the holidays..... HASHTAG LOVE
to a stylish friend..... FASHION CHANGE
to a children’s group of friends..... RESPECT YOURSELF
to one taking on an athletic challenge..... JOY WINS
to a favorite female mentor..... I AM IBU
to a friend in the hospital..... BREATHE PEACE
to those visiting Charleston..... CHS STRONG
to your far flung friends..... IMAGINE GLOBAL PEACE
to your besties..... XOXOXO
to your spouse..... STILL STRONG
to your siblings..... PRACTICE KINDNESS
to your children..... BE CURIOUS; CREATE UNCOMMON DREAMS
to your mother..... STAY SOVEREIGN
to yourself..... WHY NOT?
When wrapping a gift or a hostess gift, loop one through the ribbons, like JOY. Or set a holiday table with different words at each place setting (perhaps as a napkin ring?) that say PEACE, JOY, LOVE, BEAUTY, HOPE, DREAM. Or let us know your favorite saying or words you’d like to give that we don’t yet have available. We’re all ears.
Here’s to creative gift giving all around. #imagineuncommonjoy.
All the best,
Susan Hull Walker