The brand name Cuyana, identified for its Panama hats and leather luggage and totes, draws its identify from the Quechua term that usually means “to enjoy.”

Quechua is the language spoken by the Incas in South The usa, and it appeared only acceptable that would be the word chosen by Karla Gallardo, an Ecuadorian indigenous who started Cuyana in San Francisco some 10 a long time in the past with cofounder Shilpa Shah.

Much more from WWD

The idea at the rear of the model was that people really should acquire fewer points that are greater designed.  The two enterprise partners desired to craft important reasonably priced luxurious parts in factories shut to the raw elements desired to construct them. “Our complete offer chain is crafted on the different materials we source,” Shah explained.

Their really to start with product or service was a Panama hat produced in Ecuador from toquilla straw. Their initial purses had been manufactured in Argentina. Pima cotton is utilised in clothing made in Peru. Silk clothes is designed in China.

In the starting, the company’s products had been sold only on-line. As time went by, they opened 6 suppliers in California, Boston and New York, but 80 percent of their gross sales are nonetheless electronic.

In this speedily changing globe afflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Cuyana’s products have little by little improved. When people ended up remaining household additional, the enterprise started focusing extra on attire as prospects needed fewer hats, purses and totes, which nevertheless make up about 60 to 70 percent of revenues, Shah reported.

Even the totes and luggage progressed, going from huge sizes for carrying matters to the place of work to becoming additional micro baggage. And their totes are shifting again.

Ahead of Cuyana experienced two Classic tote luggage: 1 with a structured aspect and a single without having. Individuals totes are being put together into just one Quick tote bag with no structured sides to make it lighter for folks who will need to carry many factors but never want to be weighed down. It is built of a comfortable nevertheless resilient leather-based, has two manage lengths, a significant and medium dimension and launches Aug. 2. The corporation is phasing out its smaller Traditional structured tote but preserving its Vintage leather zip tote due to well known need.

The new Quick tote bag is built in Turkey of Italian leather-based and retails for $248. “We obstacle ourselves,” claimed Shah, who is the chief encounter officer for the firm. “We felt we could do far better.”

At any time due to the fact the manufacturer launched in 2011, totes have been a bestselling product class with more than 200,000 models currently being offered.

A further change in the business is that Shah and her relatives a short while ago moved from Oakland to South Pasadena, Calif. She and her husband, an orthopedic surgeon, both of those grew up in Southern California and preferred to be nearer to their mom and dad.

Gallardo, the main govt officer who oversees structure, remains in the San Francisco spot to run the operations, which has more than 100 employees. Decades in the past, she moved from Ecuador to go to Brown University, exactly where she gained a bachelor of science degree in used mathematics. She later gained her master’s diploma from the Stanford Graduate Faculty of Business enterprise.

Panama hats being made in Ecuador for Cuyana.  Courtesy of Cuyana.

Panama hats remaining built in Ecuador for Cuyana. Courtesy of Cuyana.

But Gallardo’s Ecuadorean roots have generally remained powerful as nicely as her really like of the Panama hat. It is so sturdy that Gallardo and Shah started out a task to change the identify of the Panama hat, which has often been designed in Ecuador and not Panama.

The Panama hat received its monikor when President Teddy Roosevelt was photographed touring design of the Panama Canal in 1906 donning a person of the Ecuadorean straw hats utilized by the canal laborers. The press started out contacting it the Panama hat.

Cuyana has launched a petition to change the hat’s identify. “We are in the method of voting on two other names,” Shah reported. Those two names are the Montecristi, the title of an Ecuadorian town, and La Toquillera, for the toquilla straw employed to weave Panama hats.

“It’s rumored that [former President Barack] Obama is going in November to Ecuador,” Shah claimed, noting they would like him to recommend a title change although there. “We are hoping that a person [former] president can accurate the incorrect [the press misrepresented] of a further president.”

Signal up for WWD’s E-newsletter. For the most recent news, follow us on Twitter, Fb, and Instagram.

Click on right here to examine the comprehensive write-up.