Caralarga is a Mexican workshop of handcrafted jewelry inspired by the raw materials of nature, founded by Ana Holdschneider.
Shop Caralarga products here.
Tell us about how you started the company.
I was born and raised in Mexico City. Six years ago, my family moved to Querétaro, a small city 2.5 hours away from one of the biggest cities in the world. It was here that I encountered Hércules, a textile factory where I had the opportunity to access a small amount of the facility’s excess cotton—enough to start a few creations. Hércules was the second factory established in Mexico during the Industrial Revolution in 1846. The texture, color, smell of the cotton, plus the historical and cultural context motivated me to start a jewelry line, made not necessarily with metals but with natural fibers. Apart from this experience, I met Maria del Socorro Gasca Chalqueño, a woman who knew the basics of how to assemble a simple necklace and was an extraordinary artisan. We made our first collection on her dining table at home. Today, Socorro produces 90% of Caralarga’s production.
Tell us about your creative process, from conception to final product.
Our products are handcrafted by women in Querétaro. There are eight women in our production line and two of them also take part in the creative process. Most of the production takes place at our workshop in Hércules, but because some of our artisans have families, they also work from home.
The process begins with a visit to Hércules that we make every month. Here, Fransisco, who has been working with yarn for more than 20 years, helps us choose the thickness of the thread that will subsequently undergo a gumming process to acquire its texture. When this process is complete, the thread is stored on a giant steel reel to prevent tangling. Later, the thread is cut and rolled into a big “queso Oaxaca” type of ball to make it easier to bring into the workshop and start the creative process.
Every piece that Caralarga produces is 100% handmade. Our collaborators dedicate an important part of their time to work on our collections. Thanks to their wit, professionalism, compromise, and creativity, our designs are transformed into high quality, artisan jewelry. Their hands bring the value of our traditions and culture to every customer. We want to share the story behind each piece, the development process, its care, and more importantly, the hands that worked them. This way each Caralarga piece can be truly understood and fully enjoyed.
How does your company create social impact?
Through fair trade, and the constant search for collaboration with locals and locally handcrafted products. We also prioritize creating our pieces with surplus textiles and eco-friendly materials like cotton by sustainable means.
Tell us about an innovator or social enterprise in Mexico that you want others to know about.
There are so many, but Taller Maya has more than 30 communities in Yucatan working on the preservation of their heritage and traditions through design and production of sansevieria fiber. Also, Onora Casa, who works with different communities around Mexico. They are one of the leaders of innovation and tradition!
Who or what inspired you to start your company?
Accessing second-hand textiles of denim and surpluses of cotton that have been produced by Hércules factory. Also, Mexican traditions and culture.
Who or what inspires your aesthetic?
The raw materials of nature, Pre-Hispanic culture and Mexican traditions.
A friend is taking a weekend trip to Mexico. What should they do in 48 hours?
What is your most treasured accessory?
A handcrafted bronze ring my mom gave me as a gift 10 years ago.
What are your interests outside of fashion?
Nature and music.
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Aim for a long term, sustainable project.