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Women running their own companies? We love to see it. In our series Small Business Spotlight, we chat with independent fashion entrepreneurs about their journey to be-your-own-boss status. Here, tips for raising funds, developing a marketing strategy, navigating social media, and more—straight from women who have done it themselves.
Analía Barbieri’s yoga practices taught her to live with intent—to connect more with nature, people, and creativity—but living and working in Mexico City’s fast-paced, high-stress fashion industry meant she had little time. When she moved out of the city and relocated to the Riviera Maya on Mexico’s northeastern Yucatán Peninsula, she could finally marry her fashion career with her spiritual journey.
Having formed relationships with a community of generational hat makers across Mexico City, Merida, and Guanajuato, Barbieri felt passionate about keeping the art of hat making alive. It became the impetus for her custom hat company, Inti Spirit.
Barbieri works with milliners and creates personalized handmade hats using natural materials like stones, feathers, coins, and upcycled fabrics. Here, we chatted with Barbieri about why connecting—on all levels—is the foundation for her growing company. Her approach to business mirrors her philosophy in life: The journey is just as important as the outcome.
I’m naturally a creator, but it’s important to understand the business side in order to grow. I started the company with my personal savings, and I am constantly learning how to toe the line between creative and business woman. The model at Inti is all about slow fashion. We work with small batches of materials and strive for zero waste. We source materials like feathers and stones organically in nature or through groups of artisans. Right now I want to stay true to myself and the brand, which means growing slowly. People come to us because they are drawn to those elements of the company.
Women have helped open new doors for me. We are an all-woman run company and I am constantly learning from each and every one of those women. I aim to create a beautiful environment with a circle of women that are bringing intention and passion to their work and to their lives. I hold workshops which give people the ability to open up with one another. The hat is not just an accessory, it’s a vehicle for connection and community.
As time goes on I am learning that creativity is always evolving—it doesn’t have limits. Right now I am traveling back-and-forth from Guanajuato to take classes with our hat makers. Learning how to create the physical hat with my own hands makes me super happy and I’m always thinking about how to make the Inti Spirit experience a bit more special.
Right now I work one-on-one with boutiques to create custom collections and I work virtually with clients who want to create a special piece. My goal is to have a beautiful storefront, but I feel like right now is not the moment to do that. I am focusing on what’s right in front of me first: growing our team, my online presence, and continuing to help people connect with their creativity through local gatherings and workshops.
Sara Holzman is the Style Director at Marie Claire, covering runway trends and tracking down the latest finds to buy and wear. When she’s not writing about fashion, she pens about the best places to jet-off to.
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