La Tiendita is the brainchild of friends and fellow expats Francesca Durante and Noelia Pretini, who found each other in the Caribbean and fell in love with magical Tulum Town. Having stumbled upon La Tiendita on a trip to Tulum, we knew the neutral aesthetic, consciously handwoven treasures and sustainable values were a perfect fit for The Drift. We caught up with Francesca and Noelia to learn more about why it’s important to them to support Mexico’s artisans, where they find creative inspiration and more.
Tell us about the inspiration behind La Tiendita.
The brand was born out of friendship and the restless traveling spirit. Two friends with the same vision and love for México decide one day to pair up and start wandering all over the country, in search of the best treasures crafted by the talented hands of native artisans. This was the perfect excuse to travel, explore and find beautiful things to share with others.
Describe La Tiendita in three words.
Noelia: Conscious and sustainable living.
Francesca: Simplicity, quality, fair trade.
Why is it important to you to support the local artisans in Mexico?
We believe Mexico is a country with a lot of potential, offering an interesting and diverse mix of art. Commercially speaking, only one face of Mexico is typically presented and sold to the world and we are passionate about demonstrating the high level of quality this country can deliver while working with all the natural resources it has to offer. We want to prove that it is possible to work with a wide variety of organic fibres.
On the other hand, we like to work with people who are happy doing what they do and receive fair compensation for their work. Energetically, it is very important that the person who creates items you will use, pours love into them. The artisans from the small communities we work with are very grateful for people trusting their work and this is reflected in the beautiful energy that emanates from their finished pieces.
“The artisans from the small communities we work with are very grateful for people trusting their work and this is reflected in the beautiful energy that emanates from their finished pieces.”
Why is sustainability important to you?
Noelia: We love the world we live in and want to find a balance between doing what we love while preserving the environment and supporting the local communities.
Francesca: In these uncertain times, we need to help the planet; use natural materials, avoid over production and produce consciously with good quality.
What are your favorite La Tiendita pieces in your home?
Noelia: I like the combination of different textures in one room—a sofa adorned with wool, cotton and linen cushions in a range of natural colours makes your house feel fresh and cozy.
Francesca: Linen, linen, linen! Curtains, tablecloths and pillowcases in this material are my favourites; and ceramic pieces in earth tones.
How has travel influenced the brand?
Noelia: The brand was born as a result from our travels. We are two women from different countries (Italy and Argentina) who fell in love with Mexico’s culture. Our traveling spirits brought us together and that same spirit is what encourages us to keep exploring the country—and the world! To see and experience natural wonders and the beautiful things that can be made with human hands.
When are you most creative?
When we travel. Traveling is our biggest source of inspiration and what drives us is returning back home with all the goodies we find on our journeys. To travel is vital for what we do and who we are; it feeds our souls.
Who and what inspires you?
Noelia: Love. There’s nothing else in the world that inspires me more than seeing someone doing things with love—whatever this task may be. When it is done with love, it transfers love.
Francesca: Through my travels around the globe I have come across so many interesting people, however it wasn’t until arriving to Mexico where I met Nicolas Malleville, an inspiring friend and the creator of Coqui Coqui Hotels. His eye, style and unique design perspective always captivates me. As for a more personal influential source, my uncle Jim always told me to do what you love and never ever give up, even if things get difficult.
Favorite Instagram accounts?
“In these uncertain times, we need to help the planet; use natural materials, avoid over production and produce consciously with good quality.”
Noelia: Waking up with a smile, good coffee and good music. These three things give me the energy to start my day with the best attitude and vibe. When possible, a morning cleanse in Tulum’s beautiful aquamarine waters as well.
Francesca: In the morning: wake up early, a beach run with my dog followed by a healthy breakfast before I start the work day. At night: A glass of wine, jazz music and my essential oil diffuser.
How do you embrace slower living?
Noelia: Being restless while living slowly is a great challenge because although we are convinced that taking time for ourselves is essential, sometimes our passion for what we do leads us to run around all day without realizing it. I’m learning to know when it’s time to stop and take a breath. The opportunity to live in the paradise that we do makes it a bit easier for us to relax and enjoy nature.
Francesca: The recent quarantine has made me realize just how important slow living is. I am a very active person and I am always on the go, whereas my post-covid days are much more relaxed and I’m definitely putting myself first.
Describe your perfect Sunday.
Noelia: At the beach, under a palm tree, with a good book in hand and no phone / wifi signal.
Francesca: An early start at the beach and then meeting friends for a bbq in the evening.
What are Tulum’s best kept secrets?
Noelia: The best places in Tulum are the ones where locals hang out—small and delicious restaurants filled with people at any hour of the day; bars where local DJ’s and bands play; the least pretentious places are the ones with the most magic. As for natural spots, everything is beautiful here but it needs to be addressed with tender love, care and respect. It should be preserved not exploited.
Francesca: The locals will never reveal any secrets about this amazing place! Haha.
Where are you dreaming of traveling when the world opens up again?
Noelia: Anywhere in the world with lots of nature.
Francesca: The Galapagos, Santa Fe, New Mexico and Maasai Mara, Kenya.
What has travel taught you?
Noelia: Traveling has taught us to have more faith in humanity; to trust people’s hospitality, to appreciate nature’s beauty and take in all the joy that comes from finding new and different things.
Francesca: Being independent, adventurous, enjoying people, opening my mind about different cultures, loving all the food of the world. Developing a new perspective on things.
How will you travel a little lighter and more consciously in future?
Noelia: We literally try to travel as light as we can, almost with empty suitcases, because you never know what you are going to find in the way and will want to bring back home.
Francesca: I’m dreaming of a bike trip around the world.
Philosophy to live by.
Noelia: Be sensitive and acknowledge the excitement that comes from beautiful yet simple things; like how gazing at a single flower can make you feel butterflies. If you do this, you will be happy all the time.
Francesca: Do what you love, travel often, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably and SMILE.
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