Keeping the Culture Alive:
sold in the US, made in the Netherlands and designed with an Hispanic flavor, how much more cross-cultural can you get?
Although Christmas trees are not the main focus of Christmas celebrations for Hispanic families in their native countries, Darlene Tenes' mission is to keep the cultures alive for those who want to combine the customs of their native country and the United States.
Darlene has many irons in the fire! She is a professional event planner and founded CasaQ in 2005. Tenes specializes in Hispanic and Religious marketing. Her company is known for doing events using the proper culture aspects.
When doing these events she would seek out items for gifts or decorations, such as "Tree of Life" pieces and people would always be wanting to buy the pieces she found. Tenes' said: "I love my culture and decided to try to keep it alive by selling items online, items that people had a hard time finding elsewhere. A few years ago, I gathered up a collection of about 40 Latino ornaments to sell."
Designed by Darlene:
In 2007 Darlene decided to design two ornaments for the line, Pancho Claus
and Sancho Snowman.
She didn't receive the ornaments to ship to customers until the last week of Thanksgiving, but the Latin Grammy folks saw pictures, contacted her and wanted the ornaments for the gift baskets. The ornaments were shipped directly to the Grammy folks -- they saw and had them before Darlene did!
In 2008 Darlene designed four more ornaments for her exclusive line which includes the Our Lady of Guadalupe, La Catrina, Star Pinata and De Colores Rooster.
Made in the Netherlands:
CasaQ works with a company in the Netherlands that produces their ornaments. Darlene designs the ornaments and sends the sketches off to the Netherlands to do the sculptures. She says there is a lot of back and forth email, as the two different cultures are not very familiar with each other and little things might be left off (or not defined) that were an important part of the design.
For instance La Catrina was originally sculpted as very skinny. Darlene had to explain that the figure needed more curves.
There was also emails going back and forth on the Our Lady of Guadalupe ornament, as the company would interpret the design reflecting their culture, not the Hispanic culture. But the eye to all the details was worth it, both pieces are true to what Darlene envisioned in her original designs.
The fine details are also evident in the fabric gift box, it's a very nice presentation when giving these ornaments as a gift. Tenes feels they spent so much time on the glass they don't want it to break in shipping or when being stored.
Where to Buy:
The company is still young and has recently branched out into selling wholesale. The response has been terrific and this year (2010) several of their ornaments will be carried by Macy's. The entire line of ornaments are carried by by Things Finer in Santa Fe and Museum of Latin American Art in Los Angeles. Darlene said they have been very fortunate to have stores/museum shops discover them online and call with orders. The museums must have had great success with the ornaments, as all the museums are re-ordering again.
Made in Mexico Ornaments:
CasaQ also carries a small line of glass and tin ornaments made in Mexico. I had no idea there was a company making glass ornaments in Mexico and these are quite reasonable in price. They would also be a good addition to your Day of the Dead tree.
Barb's Bottom Line:
It's not often that an ornament will make me laugh out loud when I first see it, but that's exactly what Sancho Snowman did. He is cute, adorable and fun. I was very impressed with the quality of the ornaments, as well as the weight. The pieces are a heavy glass -- which is a good thing for me.
The company is new, but is doing all the right things. Their web site is easy to navigate, informative and has lots of fun tips for decorating, information about Hispanic holidays, as well as yummy sounding recipes.
I also subscribed to their newsletter and was impressed with it as well. You can check out the past issues in their archive.
Does this sound like I am high on the CasaQ? Yes I am!