banana peel

by
Lauren Neal

Sister Act: A Conversation + Collab with Esperanza Heritage

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In Austin, Texas, local business is a household term and the amount of projects and collaborations popping off daily you would think it would be easy to get lost in the shuffle. That is simply not the case for sisters, Andrea Hatcher and Alejandra Stern of Esperanza Heritage. I first met this duo when hosting an event for Madewell at the Domain and was immediately intrigued by their energy and amazing product! Being that they are both moms of small children and have a business together, you would think the two would be endlessly tired but their excitement for their new business and enjoyment of working together throws all of that out the window! (Can we talk about #momgoals?) I knew that I wanted to work with them again and was so thrilled that they asked me to collaborate with them on their fall launch of Esperanza’s jewelry pieces. Add another amazing small business owner and local photographer, Sanetra Longno into the mix and it was good to be golden. All three of these women have hit the ground running with their businesses and are a true inspiration and absolute delight to get to work with! Andrea and Alejandra own Esperanza Heritage together, a mix of Central American and Mexican handmade woven baskets and now jewelry of bright colors and materials meant for anyone from mamas to makers. I loved their baskets from the moment I saw them and have carried mine from brunch to the pool to the airport in NYC! Sanetra, the talented photographer, not only takes amazing photos but also owns and runs Unravel Co. a sustainable, handmade company of baskets to bags. I first met Sanetra with my sweet friend, Bianca at Feliz pop up in Austin and was all about her product and the story behind them! Needless to say this collaboration was one to be reckoned with and I was so excited to be a part. Alejandra and I teamed up on styling and her sister Andrea and I modeled the pieces with clothing provided by the ever-awesome Miranda Bennett, while photos of course were taken by Sanetra. Check below for details on the pieces and everyone involved!

I took a moment to speak with Alejandra and Andrea after our shoot to discuss the process, partnership and how it is teaming up with your sister! I hope you enjoy and as always, appreciate you for reading!

xx

Lauren

Lauren: You guys have your hands full but seem to manage it all so well! How do you handle life with little ones and running your business? 

Alejandra: Life is just hectic, always. We come from a hard working family, and our mom has set such a great example of being able to stretch your self and push yourself to achieve what you are passionate about. I cannot remember the last day in my life that was just a “lazy” day. It is a never-ending challenge to find balance between family, work and friends. It definitely helps to have a supportive husband, family and friends. I hope to set that same example for my boys.

Andrea: I work a part time job, and aside from that I have Esperanza Heritage, my passion project. I also do freelance graphic design work on the side. Some weeks are definitely more hectic than others, but with Esperanza we like to divide the tasks according to what other responsibilities we have during the week. We like to make a tentative schedule of what needs to be done, and set ourselves goals for that time. Having a schedule lets us manage ourselves better and make sure we have enough time for our families. (As we are writing this we are sitting outside of their weekly music class! Haha). But I do agree with my sister, we were always taught by our mom to push ourselves to achieve what we want and are passionate about.

L: You both have such a great energy! Do you like working together as sisters?

A+A: Yes! We definitely do! We have fun, and also challenge each other. Even though we are very similar, we have different ways of doing things, strengths and weaknesses, so if we are not on the same page, or we feel tension, we talk about it, fix it and move on. From the beginning of Esperanza we came to an agreement that no business disagreement would come between us.

L: When did you start Esperanza Heritage? What gave you the idea to start the business?

A+A: We started Esperanza Heritage about 2 years ago. We felt the need to showcase products made in Honduras that we love, and have used for years. Most of the products we spotlight, we choose because we feel they have been overlooked, un-appreciated or not yet “discovered” by this part of the world.  As our relationships strengthen with our providers, we feel more responsibilities to bring to light these hand-crafted Central American products.

L: What was your favorite part about this collab? 

A+A: Everything. Seriously. When we reached out to you, Sanetra and to Miranda Bennett we felt it was a bold move with a slim chance of actually having y'all agree to the collaboration. From there it was "easy", because even though we had not worked with any of you before (well with Lauren we had on a Pop Up at Madewell a while back) we were already fans of Sanetra's photography, everything Miranda Bennett and their team makes, and Lauren’s style and great attitude, we just knew the results where going to be amazing.

Alejandra: I just want to add that I love everything about this type of work- It’s not just about the end product, but of the relationships that are made, and the support that comes from the team you work with…So while I took charge of the behind the scenes responsibilities I was ecstatic that Andrea agreed to one of the muses for the shoot!

L: You have been busy with lots of pop-ups and events, what are your fav (and maybe not so fav) parts about popping up around town?

A+A: The pop ups and events always present such a good opportunity for us to meet some of our followers and also to get some new supporters. It’s easy to get inspired and to talk about something you love and believe in, so having that chance to just tell people about our products is so exciting. We really enjoy planning how we are going to set up, doing the mocks. The not so favorite thing is how exhausted we are after! And then having to unpack and organize and inventory everything.

L: What do you have in store for the next year with Esperanza? 

A+A: We are working on developing some new designs for our bags and mats. We want to bring new ideas to our makers, and also hopefully to inspire them, the way they have inspired us.  We are also looking into expanding into wholesale.

L: Final question, this is something I always ask. A banana peel is known for being super goofy, somewhat clumsy or at times endearingly awkward. What is your most banana peel moment?

Alejandra: Oh yikes- I have so many of them, I could write about them for days lol. But I feel like we should mention one we’ve experienced together- Like when we were invited to a Christmas party from Andrea’s work people and friends, and we went into the walked into the wrong house…

Andrea: Ahhh yep! That was the funniest. It took us a while to realize we were at the wrong house haha!

Thank you again so much to Alejandra, Andrea and Sanetra for this collaboration and taking the time to work together on this project! I was so excited, inspired and thankful to be included. Make sure to check out their work, links included below.

Garments: Miranda Bennett
Hat: Madewell
Denim kimono: J.Crew
Creme sweater: Madewell (similar)
All jewelry: Esperanza Heritage

Stylists: Alejandra Stern + Lauren Neal
Muses: Andrea Jenkins Hatcher + Lauren Neal
Photos: Sanetra Longno



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