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Andrés Salazar and Handcrafted Jewelry: Creating Stories of Resilience and Diversity

Remember to visit Andres Salazar's store: Jewels with history by clicking here.

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Table of Contents:

  1. Introduction:
  2. The Awakening of a Passion: Andrés’ First Steps in Handmade Jewelry
  3. Jewels with History: Anecdotes and Stories Behind Each Creation by Andrés Salazar
  4. Resilience and Creativity: Andrés’ Voice from Sexual Diversity
  5. Espejos del Eje Cafetero: Colombian Cultural Wealth in Handcrafted Jewelry Andrés Salazar
  6. Conscious Craftsmanship: Andres’ Commitment to Environmental Sustainability through Handcrafted Jewelry.
  7. Evolution and Challenges: The Journey of an LGBTQI Fashion Entrepreneur
  8. Honoring Artisan Tradition: Andres’ Mission in Colombian Handcrafted Jewelry
  9. Andrés’ Tips for LGBTQI Entrepreneurs: Education, Organization and Community

1. Introduction

In the vibrant heart of Pereira, Colombia, Andres Salazar emerges as a visionary in the world of handcrafted jewelry. Andres’ story in this field is an odyssey of passion and perseverance. From his early teens, his love of crafts and his desire to explore unconventional creative paths led him down a path full of discoveries and challenges. Overcoming personal and health obstacles, including his HIV diagnosis, Andres has transformed every difficulty into an opportunity to grow and evolve, forging a unique artistic vision and unwavering determination.

At an early age, Andres started making handcrafted jewelry thanks to the influence of a childhood friend, and began selling his first products in his father’s office. This entrepreneurial spirit has been the force that has always driven him, leading him to create “Andrés Salazar Joyas con historia”, a brand that transcends the traditional concept of handcrafted jewelry and becomes a symbol of personal and collective narratives, a reflection of struggles and triumphs, and a beacon of diversity and inclusion. This article delves into Andres’ journey from his humble beginnings to his current position as a key figure in artisanal jewelry, highlighting his commitment to diversity, inclusion and sustainability.

2. The Awakening of a Passion: Andres’ First Steps in Handcrafted Jewelry

Andres’ company became official at the chamber of commerce during the pandemic in June 2020. This store, more than a simple place of commerce, was conceived as a design gallery, a melting pot where tradition and innovation blend. Here, Andrés included coffee and cocoa producers, weaving with each bean and each seed a story that promotes Pereira as an artisanal destination full of richness and flavor.

Andres’ brand stands out for its bold approach to genderless handcrafted jewelry. With each piece she creates, she seeks to challenge labels and fight discrimination, especially within the vibrant LGBTI community. His vision is clear: to support diverse groups, from DRAG artists, who shine with their unique art, to trans people and men with non-traditional aesthetics. All this, without forgetting that women, with their delicacy and strength, are the main admirers and users of its brand. Andres’ mission is a celebration of diversity, a hymn to inclusion and respect.

Andrés began his academic career at the Fundación Universitaria del Área Andina, but life led him to pause his studies temporarily. During this period, she found in handcrafted jewelry not only an art, but also a means to pay for her college expenses. Her participation in fairs and her collaboration with the Vida y Futuro Foundation, focused on strengthening artisan micro-enterprises in Risaralda, evidenced her commitment to local development and her passion for art.

At the end of his college career, Andres put his love for handcrafted jewelry on hold to focus on his thesis, launching a men’s fashion brand. However, his life took an unexpected turn after he was diagnosed with HIV. Bravely facing complications, in 2017, she created the Lives in Red foundation, uniting fashion designers with HIV. Her participation in Eje Moda and the collaboration with Belki Arizala, one of the most recognized models in Latin America, marked a milestone in her career, raising her voice and her art to new horizons.

This period was decisive for Andrés, who managed to connect his diagnosis with his passion. It generated a profound social impact, becoming a beacon of improvement and hope. His work at the foundation delivered a powerful message against discrimination, showing the world that talent and empathy are forces capable of breaking down the highest barriers.

In 2018, Andrés began formulating his project for the Emprender Fund, seeking government support for his entrepreneurial vision. In 2019, his project, which promised to create a gallery to support entrepreneurs in the coffee region and promote Pereira as an artisanal epicenter, led him to win this competitive call. His social impact and innovative vision led him that same year to IXCEL MODA, a prestigious fashion congress in Latin America.

Andres, facing discrimination at a previous job due to his HIV diagnosis, found the strength to launch himself into the world of entrepreneurship. He decided to devote all his energy and passion to building his own brand, a reflection of his personal journey and his firm belief in human potential. Their message is clear and resonant: people with HIV are productive and valuable beings, and it is imperative to eliminate stigma and discrimination in order to grow as a society.

Handmade jewelry natural pearl earrings Andres Salazar Jewelry with history
Andrés Salazar and Handcrafted Jewelry: Creating Stories of Resilience and Diversity 5

Product: Freshwater Pearls Earrings REF ROCÍO

Visit Andres’ store in Pilui: Andrés Salazar Jewels with history

3. Jewels with History: Anecdotes and Stories Behind Every Creation by Andrés Salazar

“Jewels with history”, more than a slogan, is a reflection of Andres Salazar’s soul, a window to his heart and his battles. Each piece of her handcrafted jewelry is a testament to her courageous struggle with HIV and her anxiety disorder and depression. Inspired by his own path to healing, Andres hopes that his creations will be a mirror where others can see themselves reflected and find an example of self-improvement through the art of handcrafted jewelry.

One of his collections, inspired by mental health, was born from a critical moment in his life: in 2020, Andres faced a deep personal crisis that almost led him to take his own life. However, he overcame this dark period, and it was then that his company was officially born before the chamber of commerce. This collection is an ode to resilience, a message that even in the deepest darkness, there is a light of hope.

Andres’ transition to digital commerce reflects his company’s constant evolution and adaptability. Although its physical store initially enjoyed success, the pandemic brought about a transformation in commerce, pushing it into the digital world. On September 30, 2023, with mixed emotions, Andres closed the doors of his physical store to embark on a new digital adventure. Despite the social pressure in Colombia, where these changes are often perceived as failures, Andres sees this moment not as an end, but as a valuable lesson and an opportunity to grow.

This new chapter has led him to undergo intensive training in new business models with the Superintendence of Industry and Commerce. Andres has learned that his jewelry must be more than aesthetically appealing; it must fill a need, connect with a part of society, and be aligned with current trends in humanity, including environmental sustainability, and sexual and gender inclusion and diversity.

4. Resilience and Creativity: Andrés’ Voice from Sexual Diversity

Andres’ experience as part of the LGBTQI community is more than a facet of his identity; it is the driving force behind his art and creativity. In her own words, “As a sexually diverse person, one experiences many situations of discrimination, which leads us to develop mechanisms of resilience”. This resilience has become the backbone of her work, driving her creativity and allowing her to transform adversity into art.

In Andrés’ workshop, each piece of jewelry is an act of catharsis and a declaration of resistance. He deeply understands that belonging to a vulnerable population awakens a unique creativity, one that materializes in cultural products that go beyond fashion or craftsmanship. “Through art, we make catharsis and seek to make an impact, to make the world more inclusive,” explains Andrés. Her creations are not just objects of beauty; they are powerful messages of inclusion and diversity.

Andrés emphasizes that his experience, like that of other marginalized communities such as the Afro and indigenous communities, is a constant struggle against the parameters and norms imposed by society. “When you start to step outside those parameters, you face challenges in developing as a human being,” he reflects. However, in these challenges, Andres finds the opportunity to develop unique skills and an unparalleled perspective, both personally and professionally.

Her work in handcrafted jewelry is a testament to this struggle and her victory over it. Each piece tells a story of struggle, overcoming and pride, inviting customers to recognize and celebrate beauty in diversity. Andres, through his art, not only makes luxury handcrafted jewelry; but forges a path towards a future where diversity and inclusion are appreciated as the true jewels of our society.

earrings in miyuki
set of earrings and bracelet miyuki

Product of Andres:

Miyuki Gold Plated Bracelet And Earrings Set

5 . Espejos del Eje Cafetero: Colombian Cultural Wealth in Handcrafted Jewelry by Andrés Salazar

At the heart of each of Andrés Salazar’s creations beats the spirit of the Colombian coffee-growing region. His brand, “Andrés Salazar Joyas con historia”, is a tribute to the richness and diversity of his homeland, Pereira. Andrés is deeply inspired by the coffee cultural landscape, wishing to share with the world the beauty and richness of this region.

Her handcrafted jewelry designs are a kaleidoscope that reflects the natural diversity, exquisite gastronomy, rich culture and vibrant music of the coffee region. Each jewel is a piece of history, a piece of land, a note of a melody that resonates with the identity of the region. Andrés is deeply proud of his origin and strives to ensure that each piece he creates is a faithful reflection of the identity of the coffee-growing region.

In addition, in his work, Andrés seeks to support and reflect the LGBT community, an integral part of Pereira’s cultural diversity. Their jewelry is not only objects of beauty; it is a symbol of inclusion and acceptance, reflecting a place where all people are valued and celebrated. Each design is a step towards building a more inclusive and diverse world, where the culture and identity of each person are treasures that deserve to be shown and appreciated.

6. Conscious Craftsmanship: Andres’ Commitment to Environmental Sustainability through Handcrafted Jewelry.

Andrés Salazar stands out in the world of handcrafted jewelry for his deep commitment to environmental sustainability. In contrast to fast fashion practices, which mass-produce and often engage in environmentally damaging practices, Andres takes a thoughtful and respectful approach. “We, independent designers, have a critical view of fashion and opt for a slower process of creation,” explains Andres. Its philosophy focuses on promoting conscious consumption, moving away from the model of weekly collections and excessive consumption.

Inspired by pioneering brands such as MartaLia, the first 100% zero carbon handcrafted jewelry brand in Latin America, Andres strives to minimize the environmental impact of his creations. MartaLia’s philosophy, which includes practices such as marine plastic recycling, has profoundly influenced its approach to sustainability. Andrés is constantly looking for ways to integrate these practices into his own work, recognizing the challenges and costs involved, but without losing sight of his ultimate goal.

One of the key practices in his workshop is the creation of high quality and durable parts. “I try to make sure my jewelry doesn’t generate waste,” says Andres. Their approach opposes the “fast fashion” culture, seeking to create handcrafted jewelry that is not only beautiful, but also endures over time, thus reducing the need for constant consumption.

Looking to the future, Andres has ambitions to work with natural materials, exploring ways to turn elements such as bananas and flowers into components of his handcrafted jewelry creations. This project is ambitious and requires research and collaboration with communities, but Andrés is determined to move step by step towards this goal. His vision is clear: handcrafted jewelry that is not only a visual delight, but also an emblem of respect and harmony with our planet.

Kit of rose quartz chain, mole earrings and bracelet
Andrés Salazar and Handcrafted Jewelry: Creating Stories of Resilience and Diversity 6

Product of Andrés Salazar:

Handcrafted Rose Quartz Jewelry Set: Elegant Necklace, Gold Earrings and Heart Bracelet

7. Evolution and Challenges: The Journey of an LGBTQI Entrepreneur in Fashion

Andrés Salazar, as an entrepreneur and prominent member of the LGBTQI community, has been a witness and protagonist of the evolution of acceptance and inclusion in the fashion industry. In his own words, “While the fashion industry has been very well known by people in the LGBT industry, it was still very difficult….” Andres reflects on the stereotypes and challenges faced, where being gay often meant being pigeonholed into roles such as hairdresser or stylist, and being a fashion designer was viewed with skepticism about its economic viability.

However, Andres has seen these experiences not as barriers, but as opportunities to build resilience. “Although many designers are part of the industry, the owners or large fashion conglomerates are straight, so leading in a straight world where you have a different vision is very difficult,” Andres explains, highlighting the complexity of navigating a space dominated by perspectives that often differ from his own.

In the world of costume jewelry, Andres observes a growing number of people who are dedicated to this art. The challenge of low-cost accessory imports has led him to look for a differentiating factor: “It’s not just about creating a beautiful product. There must be a story behind it and earn a place in the industry.” For Andrés, each piece of handcrafted jewelry is not only an object of beauty, but a narrative, an expression of identity and a tool to open paths towards greater inclusion and recognition in the fashion industry.

8. Honoring Artisan Tradition: Andres’ Mission in Colombian Handcrafted Jewelry

For Andrés Salazar, contributing to the preservation and promotion of Colombia’s rich tradition of handcrafted jewelry is more than a job; it is a mission full of responsibility and passion. “It is a great responsibility as a creative, artisan and designer to preserve our culture,” says Andres. In a globalized world, where Colombian fashion has traditionally been influenced by European trends, Andrés sees an opportunity to redefine and reclaim local and regional cultural identity.

Andrés understands that handcrafted jewelry, now considered a luxury product, has a crucial role in keeping ancestral traditions alive. Their commitment goes beyond creating beautiful pieces of handcrafted jewelry; it is about ensuring fair remuneration and recognizing the value of indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities. “I strongly believe in giving fair payments to these communities,” he comments. For him, preserving ancestral craftsmanship is not only a matter of maintaining techniques and styles, but also of recognizing and adequately compensating the rich cultural legacy that these communities bring.

Andres echoes a change in the consumer’s mentality, where they are no longer looking for just a fashion piece, but a connection to the history and culture behind each creation. “The consumer demands that the designer show a vision that is not colonizing, but one of responsible fashion,” he says. For Andrés, this means creating handcrafted jewelry that is not only aesthetically appealing, but also tells a story of respect, inclusion and recognition of Colombia’s rich traditions.

Elegant Earrings in Miyuki
Andrés Salazar and Handcrafted Jewelry: Creating Stories of Resilience and Diversity 7

Product: Elegant Miyuki Earrings: Hexagonal Dots for a Chic Style

9. Andrés’ Tips for LGBTQI Entrepreneurs: Education, Organization and Community

Andres Salazar, with the wisdom gained through his experience as an entrepreneur and designer, offers valuable advice for other entrepreneurs in the LGBTQI community who wish to follow their passions and create their own business. “I believe that education is fundamental,” says Andres, stressing the importance of not only formal education, but also practical and soft skills, such as problem solving and financial management.

He recognizes that designers often focus so much on the creative process that they neglect the financial organization, a critical aspect for the long-term success of any venture. Andrés advises: “We should not rush, we are in a world where everything is done immediately. I recommend doing a product development, costing and structuring everything to grow in an organized way”.

In addition, Andres emphasizes the importance of working as a community within the LGBTQI community. She talks about endophobia, discrimination within the same community, and the need to recognize and support all its members, including trans people and bisexual or lesbian women. “If we don’t repeat patterns of the hegemonic and patriarchal society, but rather unite, we could be a much richer community culturally,” Andrés stresses. His vision is of a mutually supportive community, leveraging its diversity to enrich itself and move forward collectively.

In conclusion, Andrés Salazar highlights the importance of collaboration in entrepreneurship: “We must now take into account the collaborative part in entrepreneurship, that we can make collaborations between artisans and at the cultural level and thus go further with our ventures,” he says. He stresses that collaborative work in different business models is essential to advance as entrepreneurs. “When you work collaboratively, we can move forward as entrepreneurs,” Andrés concludes, emphasizing that collaboration and mutual support are key to success and growth in the world of entrepreneurship.

Remember to visit Andres Salazar’s store: Jewels with history by clicking here.

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