A few weeks ago, Manuel got in touch about his new business venture, The Latin Boutique. With his sister, Vanessa, he began importing artisanal goods from Mexico and Latin America, both to support local producers and to meet the growing demand for these kinds of items in the UK and Europe.
I absolutely loved everything handcrafted in Mexico and was really keen to find out more, so I asked Manuel a few questions about his business and why traditional Latin American products are so unique.
What inspired you to import products from Latin America to Europe?
We like these handcrafted products a lot, they have been present in our lives since I can remember. Unfortunately not everyone has the chance to travel to Latin America, so we would like to bring them to people here in Europe. Also we would like to explain which regions these products are from, so people can learn a bit about the local culture, traditions, cuisine and so on.
Why do you think there is demand for Latin American goods in Europe?
I have noticed that in Europe over the last few years the interest for Latin American culture has been growing rapidly. The number of Mexican and Peruvian restaurants has been constantly increasing as well as salsa classes and other Latin music lessons and venues.
If you could bring only one artisanal item back in your suitcase from Mexico, what would it be?
A handmade unique musical instrument from San Miguel de Allende.
What can we do to keep supporting local and rural producers of these specialist goods in Latin America?
We help the local artisans promote their goods and we’re finding customers for them. We aim to promote Latin America as a tourist destination and we would like to encourage people to discover that amazing part of the world.
What is your best-selling product?
Tin mirrors and leather accessories.
Do you have any favourite Mexican artists?
I am really impressed by works of Frida Kalho and style of Diego Rivera, and I believe that the story of their lives is very fascinating. I also find the indigenous art of Chiapas, a region located in the south of the country, especially interesting.
What is your favourite place in Mexico, and why?
My favourite place in Mexico is called San Miguel de Allende. It’s a small city located four hours north of Mexico City. I like it because it’s very quiet and with picturesque colonial architecture, the streets are paved with stones and the houses are pleasantly colourful. The local food also really unique.
You can find all of Manuel’s current items at The Latin Boutique, with free shipping on UK orders over £20. You can also find out where they’ll be selling their beautiful products around Manchester and Liverpool.