Merida woman re-envisions Mexican textiles with a fashionable startup company

From kitchen towels to hammocks with a 'chic twist'

Adriana Romero Palma, a Merida native, started Hula to promote Mexican artisans and position traditional handicrafts in a modern world. Photo: Courtesy
  • Adriana Romero Palma, a Merida native, started Hula to promote Mexican artisans and position traditional handicrafts in a modern world. Photo: Courtesy

A young woman from Merida has put her design talent and business skills to work to promote Mexico’s distinctly beautiful textiles.

Adriana Romero Palma’s startup, called Hula, engages artisans in Oaxaca to produce bedspreads, dish towels, rugs, cushions and most recently hammocks designed to appeal to modern sensibilities.

They “rethink” the traditional colors of Mexico with a muted palette to “blend in with different decoration styles.” The all-cotton goods appear soft and supple.

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All her items are hand-woven on a pedal loom, where she says “attention is paid to every detail, from the selection and counting of the threads, to the assembly of the loom, until obtaining a piece of the best quality.”

Romero Palma’s sales on Kickstarter have gone well. With 15 days to go, she already passed her goal of 65,000 pesos (about US$3,405).

The hammocks are black-and-white, a huge contrast with the bright colors normally associated with traditional Mexican textiles. There’s a reason for that.

“Our purpose is to exemplify how versatile Mexican crafts can be,” she said. “That’s why we created this unique black-and-white collection that blends in with its surroundings but is unique enough to make a statement.”

In an early-birds discount, black-and-white Hammocks “with a chic twist” are sold for 4,740 pesos (US$250). More colors and designs will be offered in the future.

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Her schooling and professional background in Merida prepared her as an entrepreneur.

“I went to school here and studied for my bachelors degree in graphic design at Anáhuac Mayab university, and graduated 2010,” Romero Palma said.

She worked in advertising agencies as a graphic designer and then as a project manager before moving to another state and starting Hula a year-and-a-half ago.

“Two years ago I traveled to Oaxaca, and fell in love with all their textiles and weaving process,” said Romero Palma.

“I’ve been learning more about the process and the techniques and wanted to create a brand of my own that is based on fair trade and collaboration with artisans,” said Romero Palma.

Encouraged, the entrepreneur has expansion in mind, and that may include a homecoming.

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“I would like to work with more artisans from Merida and other states of Mexico, hopefully soon. That would be awesome,” she said.

“I’ve lived here (in Merida) almost my whole life. I really love this city,” she said.

Read more and buy Hula merchandise on Kickstarter.

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