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«I wanted to find a way to change the perspective of the typical «Tex-Mex», which is the Americanized version of my own country.»

32 Mexican States

Around 5-times the size of Germany, Mexico is rich and diverse as evidenced by each of the 32 states in the nation of 1,972,550 km2 land. Each state and region provides a special tradition and history, showing up in their daily lives and contemporary design. Carla Rosales is from Mexico City but lives in Au now, from where she shares the positive things her country has to offer through her company 32 Estados. She established it here in Switzerland out of the idea of curating hand-crafted and unique pieces from up-and-coming Mexican designers, and bringing their passion into our Swiss hands and hearts. Carla tells us more…

What is 32 Estados? In one, two sentences...
32 Estados curates Mexican contemporary design from growing designers who collaborate with artisans to make home décor and accessories that can be integrated into a modern lifestyle. By doing so, ancient techniques in textiles, pottery, natural fibers, etc. are being preserved and elevated to high quality products with culture and traditions behind them.

Who had the idea? How did he/she come up with it and why?
I was born and raised in Mexico and am the founder of 32 Estados in Switzerland with the intention to spread the word about all the positive things that Mexico has to offer via the work of Mexican product designers who have social impact. After living in the US, Vietnam, Finland, and now Switzerland, I wanted to find a way to change the perspective of the typical «Tex-Mex», which is the Americanized version of my own country. While traveling in Mexico, I started finding wonderful design pieces that honored my traditions and that could be part of an international style. And the best part of it is that the designers work in collaboration with artisans to make contemporary design and developing social projects. So, once I moved to Switzerland, I decided to open my online concept store 32 Estados to promote Mexican design as a way to support growing designers and at the same time promote a modern version of Mexico that connects back to its historical roots, showcasing handcrafted meaningful products with culture and a story.

Carla Rosales, photo by Jeannette Johansen-Evans

What was the first step towards the realization of the idea?
Finding the right Mexican design brands was one of the main first steps: they had to have the quality and style that could be integrated in the European market and the ability to supply abroad. It was important to figure out how to bring the products from Mexico to Switzerland for purchase without any customs hassle for my costumers. Shipping costs are high and the volume to get started was small but having the products here made it easier to develop the online sales.

Who is part of the core team today?
I’m the one that has been doing all the tasks necessary to run the company. My professional experience is e-commerce, so I made sure to have everything set up to be able to sale online. I work with external service providers for graphic design and the fulfillment of products.

Why does the world need your products or your solutions?
Keeping traditions and elevating them to preserve our cultural heritage is key to remind us of where we come from. 32 Estados is providing a platform to talent in Mexico who is already showing the world that design made in Mexico is at par with any other international proclaimed creation. And at the same time, consumers can take home meaningful products that are handcrafted and have cultural meaning.

Handmade ceramic cheese plates, made in the State of Nuevo León.

Which working processes take up most of your time?
Updating product information, taking pictures and editing. As well as managing suppliers which definitely takes time and effort.

How do you come up with new ideas, is there a ritual or does it happen by itself?
Reading articles, traveling, attending tradeshows. Just recently went to Maison & Object in Paris to get inspired with new trends, and I loved it. But I really value talking and having a cup of coffee with peers to collaborate in new projects or when customers give feedback or ideas during design markets.

How does your workspace look like?
I don’t have an assigned workplace, I like to move around: co-working spaces, coffee shops, a cozy restaurant with a view, the train, and of course, somewhere in a nice little town in Mexico. That is the beauty of being digital.

Backstrap weaving technique that has been passed on for centuries by generations in different native communities in Mexico.

What are your next projects?
I got very interesting feedback from men, they want to have options for them too. So, I am planning a trip to Mexico to source some nice designs to accessorize men.

Do you have another side job?
Yes, I work part time with Protsaah and I am in charge of developing the online sales. Working with them makes perfect sense since Saloni, the founder, develops designs in Zurich, and social projects in conflict zones all around the world.

What 3 things do you recommend to friends who want to do/eat/experience/buy in your region?
I currently live in Au, so definitely a walk around the Au Peninsula. A nice cup of green tea in Wädenswil downtown at the Kafisatz. And my favorite hidden gem for shopping interior décor, recommended by an interior designer friend: No 1 Art.

Do you listen to music at work?
Yes, Alternative Rock in Spanish.

Slow Foodies

Von dort, wo Slow-Food gelebt wird, lange bevor der Ausdruck erfunden wurde – erzählt uns Esther auf.

Richtig eingeseift

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