Just Apparel’s Portland Partner

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Emilia Callero is a one of Just Apparel’s business partners. She helps the artisans sell their custom embroidery to patrons in the Portland, OR area and beyond. Below she explains how she got involved. To read more about Emilia’s business and to see some of both her and Just Apparel’s work, check out her blog.


My journey to launch this new venture of mine was stimulated by a group of women in a small village on the shores of a giant lake in Guatemala.

santiagoAs a graduate student at Portland State University, I was searching for an international opportunity that I could incorporate into my final thesis project.  My adviser recommended that I talk to a political science professor…who recommended I speak with an Urban Planning professor who had worked in Chiapas…who then lead me to an organization called Natik!

I began discussing with their program, Just Apparel. It turned out to be wonderfully innovative and got me so excited! The artisans of Just Apparel are excellent embroiderers and have received training on embroidering logos by hand. The program connects the twenty-five artisans with U.S. companies who need logos sewn onto sweatshirts, tote bags, polos–you name it!

JA_2014-07-08_Concepcion_IMG_7756Since, my work with Just Apparel was really about seeing to how these women could get more business, an idea began to emerge in my mind: if I’m looking for companies to partner with these women, why don’t I become such a company and buy their work?  Why don’t I merge this with my other hobby, interior decorating? I love embroidery, and I’ve wanted to create embroidery designs for pillow covers that I didn’t see on the market, but really wished were there.

JA_2014-07-08_Candelaria_IMG_7633Fast forward to the present, and I am doing just that. So stay tuned! Next week I will showcase some of the embroidery designs that we have been collaborating on!

Photo Credit: Jenn Miller Scarnato, virtualtourist.com