SIMON HUANCA – ART SOL DESIGNER
Meeting with Simon
One day I went to Simon’s home in El Alto at nine. He picked me up in his VW bug when I got off the aerial tramway that takes you from the city of La Paz to El Alto in 10 minutes. Thanks to his courage and willpower, Simon managed to build a quite large, comfortable home in this city that is considered one of the poorest on the continent.
Simon began weaving at the beginning of the nineties. He started to work in a weaving workshop that had a shop on Sagarnaga Street, the street most frequented by tourists in the city of La Paz.
Once he learned more techniques, he started working for himself and set up his own store on Sagarnaga Street. Demand increased more and more, so little by little he gathered a group of weavers.
Change in his business
Simon turned his business around when, in 2009, a German advisor, paid for by the German aid agency GTZ, came to La Paz. She taught him design and marketing. This is how he starting doing business with a German company. Now Simon has more than 20 workshops, twenty use a manual machine and 5 weave by hand.
People who work for Simon charge more than usual because of their quality work (up to $15 for a sweater that sells for $45). They are happy because they don’t have to pay in advance for raw material; they have secure, regular work.
Every day, Simon gets requests from people that want to work with him.