Responsibility - Design
We work closely with our artisan communities on the design of our pieces.
When we began Pampa we introduced some “Heritage” designs, drawing on traditions, from folklore and parts of the Argentinean heritage.
Since our first Pampa collection where we offered a few rugs, cushions and throws, we have now grown to having our own team of designers in our Studio in Byron Bay led by Victoria Aguirre, and the majority of our products are now designed in-house. The design process begins from Victoria’s time in nature (where she finds most of her inspiration) or from her extensive collection of design and historical photography books. It can also start from a suggestion from one of weavers - either way, everything is finalised in our Byron Bay studio before sending off to the weavers for production.
We have grown out of admiration of Argentinean designs and also modified these to suit our brand aesthetic. We also admire and are inspired by traditional designs from Andean, Zapotec and Navajo communities which influence some of our wares. One of the things we enjoy most is the research involved behind every rug collection, which can be inspired by our travels, by our artisan communities or even from a modern city or artist.
At Pampa we produce very small batches, all rugs are produced one at a time, except for the Mini Rugs that are produced in pairs. Our cushions come in batches of 50 for the most popular styles and in 5 or 10 for the less popular designs. Our Ponchos are produced in batches of 10 to 20, our woven chaguar bags are all one-off pieces and our leather bags come in batches of 20 at a time. The scale of growth and production in Pampa is limited by several factors, not wanting to flood the market, our commitment to having no product wasted, and being conscious of the times in which we live, which demand we drastically reduce our consumption.
Production is also related to weather, which we feel makes our product even more special. We not only respect our artisan’s flow but also mother nature’s rhythm. The wool has to be dried in the sun and if it's monsoon season everything can be delayed. Also throughout the winter when our sales are the highest given we are a wool based brand, we have problems with wool supply. Sheep can’t be shorn in winter, and this past winter was particularly cold in Argentina. We didn’t have wool for our rugs as the sheep needed the wool to make it comfortably and safely through the harsh winter. Due to climate change and the unpredictability of the season, this will be an important consideration in winters to come. All of these factors come into play and it is a constant understanding and conversation between our artisans, ourselves and our clients.
Running a business ethically that can only produce small batches of handmade products at a time means that we have to pay close attention to our pricing structure. Exportation fees, import duties, domestic freight in Argentina and abroad, management of one-off pieces and all the usual expenses associated with running a retail business contribute to our final pricing. We keep our prices as low as we practically can, whilst still being able to maintain growth within the business to ensure a prosperous future for all involved in the chain. We are grateful to our community for supporting handmade, traditional craftsmanship and for allowing us to continue our artisan relationships with remote communities in Argentina.