Interview with Flipando!

  • First of all, the name! People are obsessed with the name, who came up with it and why?

FLIPANDO is a term used in Spain when something is out of this world! Laura came up with the name, she wanted people to feel this way when they saw FLIPANDO’s designs.


  • Two sisters, one company. How has it been working together?

It has been an incredible opportunity, when we united we gave FLIPANDO a new beginning, where we both focus on a same goal. We complement each other perfectly when designing, innovating and always keeping the brand’s identity and essence.


  • Where does your inspiration come from?

We are inspired by various ancestral cultures and places in the world, this is our main source of creativity where we then transform into unique geometric shapes and designs.


  • Tell us a little bit about your design/fashion background

Laura is technologist in jewelry production and has always had talent and ability for manual arts, she is FLIPANDO’s creator

Ana Maria is an industrial designer and fashion designer with over 8 years in work experience in costume design.


  • How does Colombia influence your jewelry?

Our indigenous cultures are the ones which most inspire us, from pre-Columbian metal works to knitting techniques and color palettes.


  • Your packaging, is just brilliant! Unique, sophisticated and you can almost play with it. How did you come up with this clever packaging?

Ana Maria was the one who came up with all the ideas behind our logo and packaging. Our logo is based in origami shapes and composed by different geometric shapes that combined create FLIPANDO’s emblematic bird. We wanted to reflect this among the package, for the user to be able to play and create modular forms, shapes and designs. We also wanted to eliminate the use of glue within the packages.


  • How do you stay creative?

We are always seeking new methods, materials and ideas to generate new techniques and designs within our brand, we are always innovating!


Meet Laura Buitrago, Tottem’s designer and creator. With only a few months after graduating from Parsons in New York City, she has already developed hew own brand featuring vivid and unique straw bags!

Why did you decide to launch your own brand?

Fashion is a language of its own; it is a visual way to tell a story, to show a culture and to create emotion.  By creating my own brand, I would have the possibility to show Colombia to the world and to make each person create a link to the beautiful country I was born in. Through Tottem I could tell millions of stories of all that Colombia has to offer, with design I would be able to communicate all the beauty in Colombia that is unseen.

Where did the name “Tottem” come from?
A totem is a natural object, an iconic symbol representing a particular culture, tribe or individual. More than being a cultural object, totems are an artistic expression that seek to symbolically represent a particular person, and thus give a meaning to the attributes of who identifies with this object.

TOTTEM allows its pieces to be insignias and emblems of identity of each person, according to their tastes, preferences and fashion sense. We want that with TOTTEM you can tell a story through original designs that represent in an exceptional way the identity of their owners.

Which is Tottem’s it girl? Who do you design for?

Tottem doesn’t set a standard of an It girl, Tottem allows every girl to be her own It girl.

The Tottem Girl:

With a dreamy heart, hopeful of finding peace and tranquility where she goes,  The TOTTEM woman enjoys life at full.

Joy shines in her eyes and her smile reflects the grace of her being.

She wakes up with a salute to the sun and thanks for her life.

Each day is like a blank new page, ready to be fill stories to tell.

This is the TOTTEM woman, a STORYTELLER of life.

She is not a dancer, but she has movement. She is a BOOM of energy, causing an impact whereever she goes.

She feeds her good humor and infects those who surround her.

She is a BEING OF LIGHT, her presence radiates tranquility and inner peace.

She know what to say, because she always have the right words to give good advice and convey love for others.

She has no amulets, no objects of good luck.

While her clothing is a reflection of her personality, she is a woman detached from the material. Her taste goes beyond attraction, she seeks a special bond in everything that surrounds her.

Each element  of life fills her with energy and gives her happiness.

In her world there is no white and black, she visualize her day  painted in thousands of COLORS! .. TOTTEM is a quiet language, a secure mind, a noble heart, a loving soul, she lives in joyful landscapes and has endless stories to tell.

What inspires your designs?

After I came back home from living in New York, I started appreciating what I had been taking for granted while I grew up. Discovering this appreciation for my culture and the art that had lived with me all my life inspired me to design this first collection for Tottem. The pompeya flooring, the tall palmtrees, the colorful flowers, the joy of the Colombian people and the beauty of handmade, imperfect (yet perfect) craft of the artisans of my country were all inspirations for this collection.

For example, In the Sevilla Bag you will find patters of Pompeya tiles, in our Mucura Lunchbox the influence of tropical flowers and through all of our designs you will see how the energy and joy of the Colombian people are captured by the usage of bright colors.

What is your dream for Tottem?

I want to built a Tottem tribe! I want girls to not only be identified with their Tottem, but to feel empowered and unique while they carry a peace of Colombia. Make them feel like even though they might not know the place, they can identify with it, its happy people, its colorful surroundings and the most contagious positive energy.

I want girls all over the world to join us!

The Faces Behind Palma Canaria

On this Women’s International Day, we interviewed two women who we admire immensely and have done a fabulous job at creating their own line.

Palma Canaria has only been around for a couple of months and has already given a new meaning to beach accessories, these are not only beach accessories, these are fun and fashionable pieces which can be worn during day and night, beach or city. Learn more about the mother-daughter duo, who have created the must-have pool and beach(or city) accessories every girl wants!

What inspired you to launch Palma Canaria?

Palma Canaria was inspired by Colombian artisans and their powerful and diverse talent, and our interest for fashion and design. We saw a huge potential in our artisans for them to bring to life our designs, and still be a piece that shows our culture and the good vibes we have. 

Why the name “Palma Canaria”?

We chose the name Palma Canaria because for us it sound cheerful and tropical, and the main raw material we use is palm leafs so we felt it really special. 

How would you describe the Palma Canaria customer?

Our customers are women who like to have fun, to take risks and that like to own exclusive pieces. They are travelers, dreamers and fashion lovers.

Where did the inspiration for the messages and quotes come from?

FUN. FUN. FUN . Our inspiration is seeing people smile or even laugh when they read our quotes. Or even feeling inspired, and feel the need to get away. Life and Happiness are our main messages we like to transmit. 

What respective strengths do you each bring to the design process?

Monica is the creative and active part of Palma Canaria. She has many wonderful ideas everyday, and most of them are the ones you are seeing. Juliana executes Monica’s ideas and organizes the business plan to make everything possible. 

What is the best thing about working with your mother/daughter?

Its really and adventure. We are knowing different facets and sides that we really didn’t know about ourselves and about each other. The best part is that you cant’s trust anyone more than your mother or your daughter, and you are working for each other best interest. Its a new phase as entrepreneurs and we can’t feel more comfortable and happy about sharing these moments together. 

Monica and Juliana are a clear example that what is done with love is done well, very well.

Inside Baletti: Meet Paloma Ruiz & Laura Vasquez


MALKA: How did you two meet and why did you decide to work together?

BALETTI: Paloma and Laura have been long time friends. As Laura recalls “It was only until one day I bumped into her in a fair in Bogota when she was starting her line of Colombian leather handbags.” The idea of working together started when Laura saw the opportunity in Paloma’s skills to change her model of business into a more international and competitive approach.

After chit-chatting for a while they found out that they both wanted to renovate the concept and experience of use of an accessory into a more customizable product. A handbag that could go beyond the consumer expectations and brake the traditional concept of use, following the aesthetic principles of both of them. “We wanted to create a handbag completely customizable, a base and cover system. Yet at that time we didn’t know how this idea would become reality, neither how would it look like, we just knew that we wanted a minimal product, fun and versatile; meeting the highest quality standards of the international market.”

M: What inspired you to launch Baletti?

B: “The constant need for change of the millennial lifestyle, the fast paced life that we live in, the high standards women face to meet at work and in their social life.  Baletti provides functionality without scarifying style, it is a brand that could achieve day-to-night minimal forms.”

M: What does the name “Baletti” mean?

B: “It stands for versatility and freedom of expression. The name means dance and movement from its most traditional and classical forms.”

M: How would you describe the Baletti customer?

B: “Baletti’s customers are women who want exclusive, customizable, low-key luxury and value, without the big logos or labeling. For all those who seek to find an equilibrium between functionality and fashionable minimal feminine silhouettes, that will not only appeal by its design but as well by its versatility of use. It is therefore the perfect Cosmopolitan handbag, designed to meet the fashionable and functional expectations of today’s multi-tasking, busy women’s agenda.” 

M: Where did the inspiration for the interchangeable system come from?

B: “We think around todays globalized and fast-paced lifestyle. We travel, work, have families, go to social events and we always want to look as beautiful as we can. Everyone wants luxury items, but to buy each, you need to make a big investment. In the process of conceptualization of the brand, we wanted to create an exclusive low key atmosphere where once you made the first investment, you could renew the style of the bag periodically without needing to change all your items from one bag to another or buying a completely new one.

We talked about how many times we were locked out of our homes because we had forgotten to put the keys in the new bag we were using, or how boring it was that every time we traveled, handbags and shoes were the things that took the most amount of space in our luggage, or just about how nice it’d be to change more often our accessories without having to spend thousands of dollars in a new exclusive handbag.”

That is what Baletti is all about.