Bringing Smiles to Columbia One Stitch at a Time
We love our brands and we've often been asked how we choose designers for Little Birdies. Besides offering adorable cute clothing, we value brands with big hearts. We’re especially drawn to the kindness shown by brand owner, Catalina Gonzalez to lift up underprivileged women by employing them to sew for her brand, Dondolo. We'd like to give you a little more background on this unique brand that we adore. The clothing is all stitched by hand by mothers in Colombia, and the designs are beautiful. Catalina is the owner and designer of the brand, and we can't wait for you to get to know her a little better!
1. Your clothing is sewn by mothers in Colombia, and part of your sales
go towards empowering these mothers and other women in their
community. Can you describe this special relationship with the mothers
There are actually two groups of women who sew our clothing; the first group works in our main factory and the second group are moms in our Mom Empowerment Program, who we met on our Give Back trips. The women and moms who work at our factory have amazing stories of working hard to build their homes and support their families. Some of the single moms who hand embroider everything do it from home so they can look after their children but also support their families. It’s a trade passed from mother to daughter and these women hand stitch their love into every piece.
Every year when we do our giveback trip where we deliver more than 2,000 pieces of clothing and snacks to children in desperate need. We go to different communities, but always one in particular called “La Boquilla”. We have formed a special relationship with the community and its moms. We selected five moms who showed initiative and interest in starting their own micro business, so, in order to make this dream a reality, they help us assemble our Dondolo dolls for a wage. During their work time they receive life lessons and training to start their own ventures. They all have done it now! One of them bought washing machines with the money she received from us and washes clothes for other people in her community. One mom sells fried foods, while another sells fish.
2. Do you have any upcoming trips to Colombia planned? Do you have
any projects planned for that community?
We do! We have one planned for December. We plan on building two more playgrounds and bringing gifts and clothing too. Also, it will be our first time receiving donations for this trip. We can’t wait to find out how many more children and moms we can help and empower in this upcoming trip!
3. No matter what brand a designer is working on, they find inspiration in
their environment. I feel like your designs are so different than anything on
the market, so bright and fun! What inspires your clothing? Does your
upbringing play into your creations?
My inspiration is different for every collection. I take cues and ideas from trips, vintage designs, contemporary women’s clothing designers and Parisian and European children’s clothing. My upbringing does play an important role in my creations. I moved to the United States from Colombia when I turned 16, and traveling has always been a part of my family life. I love designing something out of a vintage pattern and then putting a fresh spin on it and creating something that is completely different but still keeping the magic and elegance of a vintage design. I decided to include my whole team of Dondolo girls, especially Sílvia and Mimsy, into the final design review and get their opinions on the clothing and they turn out amazing!
4. How do you believe that being a mother shapes Dondolo’s business
As a mom I have a different insight into every detail that goes in my clothing. Special touches like slips with lace trim, or shirts under jumpers using Pima cotton so they are super soft and they don’t itch. Being a mom to all boys, I an all-boys see the need for cute boy clothes to match all my boys. I want to create age appropriate and elegant clothes but also comfortable ones that not only the moms love, but the children love too!
5. With the demands of having a family and a booming business, how do
you find balance being a working mom and excelling in both areas?
Balance is something I am always working on and it’s never easy to achieve...
“It takes a village (OF AMAZING WOMEN!) to make it work”… The sacrifice of a working mom is the hardest. There is never enough time! It’s nearly impossible to build your own startup from scratch and still maintain my priority of being
the best mom for my children. My amazing husband, Santiago, has been there with me every step of the way, helping me and supporting me from day one. He is the best hands-on and loving dad to our three boys. And it is thanks to my great team of amazing women that Dondolo flourishes.
6. Who is this Dream-Team?
Silvia is our CFO and in charge of our manufacturing. She makes magic happen by
bringing the fabric from Europe to the Colombian manufacturers. Her organized, loving and hard-working personality makes her amazing, diligent and excellent at her job and she always stays on top of EVERYTHING!
Mimsy is our VP of Sales and my travel buddy. She makes a hard day the best and most successful one. Her attention to detail, welcoming, kind and sweet personality makes her the best connection to all our boutiques. Mimsy falls in love with the collections as much as I do, and travels the US selling it to all of our amazing boutiques.
Fernanda is our VP of Marketing with her sweet, creative, imaginative and talented personality she designs our marketing campaigns, newsletters, social media posts, and everything looks pretty on our website because of her!
Catherine is our VP of Public Relations with her outgoing, sweet and beautiful personality she is the best ambassador for Dondolo. She’s been planning the most successful events, and spreading the word about Dondolo with media all over the US.
Sara is our newest member of the team! With her great experience, big heart and always ready to help personality, she is in charge of Dondolo Gives, the charity we use to receive donations, fund our give back program and support different foundations in the Dallas area. She is now growing Dondolo Gives by making people aware of our mission!
Dondolo Dream Team above!
We love watching Dondolo grow and we can't wait to see what plans they have in store next! We'll be posting more of their beautiful Fall '18 collection this week!