Interview with Sandra Catalán, founder of Biribiro Handmade Lovers

Driven by the difficult economic situation Spain is currently undergoing, Sandra Catalán headed towards Bristol in June 2014. Once having arrived there – and at the same time that she is learning english-  this young biologist decided to make a strong bet on crafts, one of her great passions. All through the following lines Sandra answers to our questions and tells us every single detail concerning the recent creation of Biribiro Handmade Lovers. This new brand that sells complements offers a mix of colour, quality and respect for the environment. Who says we cannot have it all?

Flower inspiration. // PHOTO: Biribiro Handmade Lovers.

When did you start breathing life into Biribiro Handmade Lovers? Where did the idea to start a project like this come from?

Crafts have always been present in my life ever since I was a little girl. My mother loves sewing and my father also makes handicrafts, so I have grown up surrounded by fabrics. I remember going shopping and coming back home with empty hands just because I wasn’t able to find the kind of complements that would match my style. So ended up designing them myself. Little by little my designs started to be very well received among my friends, and they encouraged me to establish my own brand. But it wasn´t until I arrived in Bristol that I gave a professional approach to it with the creation of Biribiro Handmade Lovers.

What does your business concept consist of? What kind of items do you produce?

We offer a wide range of products. From necklaces, brooches or headdresses, to toiletries, crochet-knitted purses and scarfs. Currently we are also working on a new fashion collection. And all of it has the same common theme: every woman, regardless of her style, has to be able to find the perfect complement. At Biribiro we create highly personalised items, all of them made one at a time.

Colourful necklaces made out of recycled fabric. // PHOTO: Biribiro Handmade Lovers.

What advantages does it have to work with recycled materials?

At Biribiro we are deeply concerned with the environment. Thus, our products are mostly made out of recycled fabrics. We pay regular visits to second-hand shops, from where we also obtain very optimal materials to employ (such as itmes that were first designed for a different purpose). By recycling we contribute to a cleaner atmosphere. Furthermore, we save energy, prime materials and natural resources. Ultimately we help preservate the environment and do our share towards a more sustainable world.

Accessory bags. // PHOTO: Biribiro Handmade Lovers.

Where do you sell your products? Are markets committed with sustainability values becoming increasingly popular in Bristol?

We usually attend different kinds of crafts markets, and our designs are also present in some shops around the city. In Bristol there are several organisations that support local artists and handmade products – many of them made out of recycled materials. This is only possible because our society is increasingly committed with taking care of the environment. Bristol has been crowned the European Green Capital of 2015, which I am sure is going to encourage the bloosoming of these kind of initiatives.

How do you see the future of the brand?

Right now we are just getting started so we are still focussed on figuring out how we can keep improving day by day. I would love for Biribiro to be a referent when it comes to the quality and originality of our products. But one of the things I wish the most is cross the streets with women of different ages wearing my designs. At that point I´ll know that I have accomplished my goal.

Sandra Catalán, founder of the brand. // PHOTO: Biribiro Handmade Lovers.