Even in a place like Spitalfields Market where many different stalls sell a wide variety of different crafts and clothes, the Kindy Crafts store stands out with its colourful display of authentic Ecuadorian goods.
Owners Susana Lema Espinosa, and her cousin Raúl Lema Espinosa, both come from Ecuador. Raúl came to London five years ago and Susana has been here to help with the business for two years.
Dream catchers, leather bracelets and knitted children’s clothes are all sold here, all handmade by Susana and Raúl. The materials used for making their crafts are brought from their home country once a year.
Dream catchers are one of the most featured products at Kindy Crafts. Susana told Eastlondonlines: “For the dream catchers, my cousin makes different styles. These are all different and unique dream catchers. He has never made a similar one because it’s difficult to get the feathers which are all real recycled feathers.”
All the feathers come from Ecuadorian rainforests and are collected by Susana and her family. “My grandmother collects the feathers for us. Near my city there’s a place for special birds like eagles and big birds called the Andean condor. At the moment I haven’t got those feathers, because we have to wait for birds’ feathers for about a year.”
Susana and her cousin told ELL of the story behind dream catchers: “With protection charms and webs on the catcher, bad dreams become caught and only good dreams are allowed to pass through the feathers during the night. In the morning, with sunlight, bad dreams vanish,” they said.
Lots of colourful children’s clothes are prominently displayed at the stall. Susana said: “All the work is handmade. I never use machines, just my hands. I do the designs, after that I cut the pieces and make the padding.”
All the clothes are branded: ”ethically made: no child labour”. She said: “My country is not a rich country and small children work in some factories. But now in my country most workers are women, not children. It’s very important that people know who did the work.”
As for the leather bracelets, Susana said the work was “easy” for her because she did this as her business back in Ecuador. By picking several leather strips and weaving them together, Susana produces an array of beautiful jewellery.
Susana emphasised the family tradition and the skills she inherited from her grandmother that motivated their business in London: “It’s all about the family business,” she said.
Raúl told ELL that he and Susana joined the family business when they were small children. He said: “My father and grandfather are all working in the craft business. So it’s something that we have been doing for a long time.” “The business back in my country is my whole life,” Susana added.
Susana and Raúl share the labour and cooperate with each other. Susana is responsible for designing the images on clothes and her cousin does the knitting. As for dream catchers, Raúl is the maker and Susana the seller.