About Yanantin Alpaca
Yanantin Alpaca is a sustainable brand of alpaca woolen products. Yanantin stands for slow fashion and quality. All our items are made by women in Bolivia. Our goal is to empower them.
I fell in love with Latin America in 2006. Of course, that happened on a sunny Caribbean island: a place hard not to fall in love with...
In 2009, I started my bachelor's degree in Spanish Language & Culture at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. Focussing on Latin American and Caribbean literature, my love for the continent grew. After obtaining my degree, I decided to go back. I spent seven months in Peru, volunteering with a local NGO.
Back home in the Netherlands, I started my master's degree in Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Eager to learn more, I couldn't resist the call to go back only four months after having started my studies. I went to Bolivia for four months to conduct fieldwork.
Overwhelmed by the beauty of both the people and nature of Bolivia, I was now completely sold on the mysteries of Latin America. I went back home for two months to complete my thesis on female empowerment and syncretism. Then, I went to Costa Rica for an internship, and back to Peru in 2015. With only a backpack and a burning desire to discover more...
The years of travelling that followed were filled with experience and personal growth back and forth between Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador. It was also the time that inspired creating Yanantin. Throughout those years I had maintained contact with a beautiful family in Bolivia and I wanted to help them create a better world for themselves and their loved ones.
I met Nona and her family back in 2014. They made me feel that I was, and still am, part of their family. Few times have I met people that have been so warm and welcoming. While still, like many others, they are trapped in the harsh reality of Bolivia with little hope of change.
Together, we came up with a plan, a plan that would allow Nona, the grandmother of the family, to look after her grandchildren, while working a flexible job to gain an extra income to provide for them.
The months before leaving Latin America in 2018 were dedicated to starting up Yanantin Alpaca. I bought knitting machines, went to knitting courses and brought kilos of alpaca yarn to El Alto, Bolivia. Nona and I worked together until we found the perfect design for a beautifully, handknitten scarf.
Confident, I left Latin America after six years. I registered Yanantin as a business in the Netherlands and with that, Yanantin Alpaca was officially born.
Sustainable & Empowering
Yanantin is a sustainable brand. I believe in slow fashion and quality over quantity. Buying items that last a lifetime is worth much more than following the latest trends. By choosing items that are not bound to rapidly changing fashion, we can prevent waste and decrease the pile of clothes that are destined to be burned or thrown out.
I believe that following the style of your heart is much more sustainable than following trends. By making items that are classic and timeless, every piece of Yanantin Alpaca can be part of your outfit for years and years to come. On top of that, you will find joy in the practicallity of our items. How about comfort for a style?
I love colors, and inspired by the rainbows of colors that the people in the Andes wear, the variety of colors that we offer is a tribute to them. I am also confident that one of these colors speaks to your imagination, making the item that you choose a choice of your heart.
Yanantin Alpaca gets its wool from a sustainable producer in Peru that is certified and acknowledged for treating its alpacas, its environement and its indegenous communities well. On top of that, the wool is of incredibly high quality and 100% pure.
Sustainable products of high quality yarn, made with love and empowerment.
Bolivia is a country in South America that is afflicted by poverty and inequality. Haunted by corruption, discrimination and inequity, big parts of its population suffer from social exclusion. Despite the efforts of both national and international intervention, Bolivians continue to suffer the limitedness of their opportunities.
Yanantin exists to help people overcome these barriers. I believe that by focussing on small but real impact, people can be given a chance to escape their situation. I believe that it is important to give people the agency, the power, to make their own change.
I do that by paying a fair salary. Fair to me means more than the minimum wage. I don't believe that something minimum can maximize our impact. Yanantin therefore pays a salary that is 9 times higher than the local minimum wage. If you do the math, that means that of each scarf 10% goes to the woman that knits it. Again, we go for quality over quantity.
The Production Process
We give our knitters a small, manual knitting machine. To us, this gives us the best of both worlds: the knitters can apply their attention to detail, precision and experience, while the machine helps them to work faster than hand-knitting would have allowed them to. The machine is very user friendly, while still giving a personal touch to each item.
The knitters keep a keen eye out for irregularities or errors. At the same time, we help the knitters work a little faster with a whiff of technology to help them out. On top of that, all products have a hand-crocheted border, making each item unique.
Every item made by Yanantin Alpaca is as unique as a handknitted item, with the precision that you deserve.