Origen Imports Guatemalan Story, world fashion, Guatemalan artisans, ethical trade, Melbourne fashion brand, eclectic fashion, boho chic, Guatemalan bags and home wares.

A lifestyle store born from owner, Rose Marie Stirling’s extensive travels to the world’s most exotic regions. Origèn is a celebration of the richness of cultures far beyond our borders. Each collection is a hand picked array of exquisite jewellery, clothing and home wares coordinated with fashion-forward labels from selected Australian designers. The result is a renowned destination store for those seeking something fresh, individual and distinct for the everyday.

What we believe in

Our range reflects an enduring fascination with artisans – the designers and craftspeople from all corners of the globe who create our eclectic range and hand-made treasures. At Origèn, there are no rules; we are led by our hearts and eyes in deciding on the pieces for our collections. Our greatest joy comes from the people we meet on the journey. We believe in fair and ethical trade and the dignity of labour. We’re proud to work with companies who share these principles. Our joy also extends to the people we meet in store. We are genuinely excited by the treasures we offer and we know that you, our wonderful customer community will appreciate them too. That’s why we love nothing more than sharing that delight, every time you visit.

Guatemala - The Soul of Origen

Origèn owner Rose Marie Stirling and her mother Elvira Sposito have spent long periods with the descendants of the Mayans in the highlands of Guatemala. “We fell in love with the descendants of the greatest Mayan Empire”, says Rose Marie. “They live in a land shaped by ancient civilizations, earthquakes, volcanoes and at times, economic and political unrest. Despite this, Guatemalan artisans continue to create truly beautiful handmade products that embody both their everyday challenges and their unfaltering life force.”

As a result, strong alliances have been established with the artisan families that supply our range of brilliantly hued and embroidered collection of jewellery, accessories, home wares and children’s toys. This unique partnership is based on respect, dignity and transparency – values that extend to the soul of the business. “We pay them a fair price and all monies go directly to the artisans. So at the same time that we’re sourcing beautiful products for our customers, they are assured that the craftsman are protected and are better able to satisfy the earning needs of their families,” Rose Marie explains.

This arrangement brings self-sufficiency to these indigenous communities and keeps ancient artistic traditions alive, while introducing Australians to exquisite handmade fashion, jewellery, home wares, toys and more.

What Origèn’s fair trade support means to the artisans of Guatemala

Supporting fair trade makes a world of difference to these communities. For centuries, Mayan descendants have worked the land and created beautiful hand crafts.

However, over the past few years, the country has been affected dramatically by the changing climate. Violent storms followed by prolonged drought have posed a serious threat to staple crops, forcing indigenous farmers to switch to a summer harvest to give their young plants the best chance. This means more irrigation and the use of drought-resistant seeds.

These farmers need technical assistance to adapt, but pressure from international financial institutions has forced many developing countries to cut spending. In addition, as food prices spiral internationally, more of a family’s income is spent purchasing the bare necessities.

By paying artisans and farmers for their handicrafts, they can stockpile beans and corn in case the next crop fails. Imagine their relief in not having to worry about whether or not their families will go hungry!

It enables them to install roofs on their houses for the rainy season. It pays for transportation to visit travelling nurses offering diphtheria boosters. It supports well digging so they can secure a consistent water source. It means they don’t have to risk their lives travelling to the US. Most importantly, it gives them hope for a better life in their country of origin.