Meet the ladies behind UpTica.
Rita is a lady in the community who had already taken initiative to create upcycled products from her home. The model of freely creating products from materials that would have otherwise been burned or buried due to lake of municipal waste systems, was what Transforma wanted to adopt. The team originally planned to collect “trash” from community homes to bring to and sort for creation of new products. However, it was soon realized that this approach was something far too difficult to tackle upfront so we chose to tackle to impacts of the fast fashion industry by upcycling left-over fabrics and unused/wanted clothing. Rita already had sewing experience and was the first lady to make and sell products for Transforma?
Rita Fernandez grew up in a small Cabecar indigenous community in Costa Rica. Rita inspired Nicol to start a social venture focused on empowering women and upcycling. Nicol saw how Rita came up with creative designs for new products, such as wallets and bags out of leftover resources she had at home. Additionally, Rita advocates for uplifting the women around her by teaching them crafting skills and encouraging their involvement in UpTica. Now, Rita serves as the community advisor for UpTica’s decisions.
Jeanette joined UpTica alongside Ana in January 2016, when Rita introduced them to Nicol and the project. She was eager to join because she liked the idea of sewing in her free time and learning new skills. Janeth is hopeful that UpTica can become a source of income in the future, but right now, she is grateful for the time she has spent working on UpTica, and the sewing workshops UpTica was able to fund for 8 weeks during July and August of 2017.
Ana is Jeannette’s younger sister. In contrast to Janeth, Ana is more shy and introverted. However, they are both hard working and disciplined. Even though she didn’t have as much experience sewing, Rita and Emilio provided her with a smaller machine to start working with. Once Rita taught her basic techniques, Ana kept practicing and improving more and more.
Angela likes working with UpTica because she has worked with seams since she was 15 but never did bags before, so this has been a great experience for her. She also enjoys working with very special companions from her same community, of whom she feels she has learned a lot. Angela finds the opportunity to make bags of different sizes and styles very beautiful. According to her, “the experience with UpTica has been very special. I love being part of that project.”
Mila works with enthusiasm and a dedication to learn.