Latina entrepreneur launches indigenous artisan-inspired company

ByAnabel Munoz and Jose Mayorquin via KABC logo
Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Latina's eco-conscious clothing line
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Latina entrepreneur launches Nubia Natalie, an indigenous artisan-inspired clothing company.

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (KABC) -- An idea for a new business can spark just about anywhere. For Natalie Arribeno, the spark came from a merchant booth at a music festival.

"I didn't have any idea of starting a business at the time. I saw a merchant booth that caught my eye. It was a beautiful guayaberas, beautiful women dresses. I noticed the lady in the back sewing and that really caught my eye. It was like 'oh my God, that lady that made all these art pieces is here,'" said Arribeno. "Then I started asking her questions in Spanish and I could feel how uncomfortable she was. I thought that was her booth, but she just there as a prop."

Struck by the encounter, Arribeno, who has a background in fashion merchandising, found a purpose. She set out to champion the work of artisans from indigenous communities in Mexico.

"My family being from Nayarit (Mexico), I personally wanted to start with communities in Nayarit. I found the Huichol Center which is six hours away," said Arribeno. "The Huicholes live up in the mountains. They come down if they need medication or they need their children to go to school or anything that they aren't able to get up there. This is the first location that they come."

She reached out to Susana Valadez, an anthropologist who founded the Huichol Center 30 years ago.

"I was like, my name's Natalie, I have an idea. I want to collaborate with you on your prints to see how we can work together and give back to your community," said Arribeno.

That was the beginning of a partnership and the birth of Nubia Natalie, a woman's active wear line inspired by Huichol culture and symbology. Proceeds from each sale go back to the education component of the Huichol Center.

Arribeno said, "Part of the Huichol culture is to use peyote to see visions as they go through their journey. And through these visions, they come up with these beautiful, intricate symbols and meaningful things that they cross stitch on their outfits. That's where we started working from. Each garment holds a story."

Nubia Natalie also has an eco-conscious focus. They produce their garments from recycled water bottles fabrics and use water-less printing sublimation techniques.

"We just launched our company officially. It's through our website, right now. I'm focusing on business to consumer. The response has been great," said Arribeno. "I'm very excited because I've gotten a lot of direct messages on Instagram. Our next phase is really to do business to business and put the line in yoga studios and stores and go that route."

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Watch the full story and more on Vista L.A., Saturday at 6:30pm on ABC7 and the ABC App.