KNITTING LOVE AND TRANSPARENCY
CM bags are about people - and inside every crocheted piece is a 'thank you' card, signed by the artisan who made the piece weaving both their love and personal stories into each item - and which serves as a 'Certificate of Authenticity'. Celina Hissa is the visionary behind this project. Her career began in advertising, but almost 15 years ago her eye for design, and love of crafts, urged her to conceive Catarina Mina.
Having been born and raised in the NE state of Ceara, known for its numerous handicrafts and talented artisans - Celina discovered a passion for crochet purses and quickly put together a group of women to bring her creations to life! In the beginning, she created private label pieces for renowned Brazilian labels like Osklen and LeLisBlanc. Later in 2013, she accepted the challenge of co-designing four Art installations alongside artist Ana Maria Tavares, which were exhibited in several Brazilian and International cities. For this, she brought together over 20 artisans from various cities in Ceara.
In 2014 she completed her masters Thesis on horizontal production within collectives of artisans - and with such precious organizational knowledge and field experience on hand, she was finally ready to take CM and the local artisan community to new heights, but more than creating beautifully crocheted bags she wanted to make a difference. Therefore, CM made its production and costs fully transparent to her customers, so that before the bags reached their hands, they knew that their purses had been touched by many others - not only Celina, who conceived their designs, but also the artisans who knitted, the seamstresses who added the finishing touches - the assistants who quality controlled and packed - therefore making every person along the chain equally important and they were also receiving an effective share of the Company's incomes.
This initiative brought the clients closer to the business, which was leading a revolution in sustainable practices and for which it was awarded in 2015 the VogueBrasil/Ecoera prize and in 2016 the 3M Brasil Design Award.
Suddenly CM went from having 7 artisans focusing on crochets to 35, who were able to introduce new techniques and materials for the products. Through further crowdfunding and social projects, CM has been able to give value to their commercial worth also producing knitted items (all sold on the CM site), as well as reviving a traditional technique - Project Uru - used by fishermen for weaving baskets into wearable bags, thereby rescuing a dying tradition and sustaining an entire community.
Celina often refers to the bags as 'CM Minha' a play on words that means 'My Catarina Mina" which is a poetic way of indicating that each belongs to you - the client who purchases it; to Celina who envisioned it all; to the artisans who bring it all to life - and who are all an integral part of this life-changing company, Catarina Mina.