A Long-Overdue Homage To The City That Gave Us Our Education And Sense Of Entrepreneurship: Thank You, Medellin Xx

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Dear Reader,

We hope you are well today.

We missed you yesterday, and do please accept our apologies. Technical work was being completed in preparation for our ever-closer launch!

But we are back today, with a post very, very dear to Kalamarie’s heart.

We have previously shared with you much of our history, and of how this brand came to be. We have given you a little insight into our world and the places we have taken inspiration from.

Today, we wish to tell you about yet another wonderful place that nurtured us and instilled in us our hunger for exploring the world out there, and for making a success of what we love.

Medellin, otherwise known as “The City of Eternal Spring”, is the second largest city of Colombia. It lies rather unassumingly, but tidily enough, in the narrow Valley of Aburra, in the west of the country, in its Andean region. It is where Kalamarie’s family home is located.

At first sight, one might be forgiven for thinking that it is an urban centre, of somewhat extreme contrasts, with little else to offer but a dark history and a strong industrial focus. Such an assumption could not be any further from the truth.

During a recent business flight, Kalamarie was surprised and delighted in equal measure to find, sprawled across no less than fourteen pages of Air France’s Magazine’s August 2015 issue, an entire article dedicated to Medellin, and the 10 (ten) highlights of its “unbridled creativity”. Kalamarie must confess that reading the article filled our hearts with pride and our eyes with tears.

You see, we grew up in a difficult, very troubled and unpopular Medellin. We felt its pain and we now enjoy its glory.  But, growing up in it, hard and unsafe as it was at times, we were very much part of its culture and that culture became part of our core.

It is said that wherever you go in the world, how ever remote the place, you will find a Paisa (as persons from Medellin are known), and as you meet them, they will probably be setting up business. And that is because they are never scared of exploring, and their never-tiring minds will always find a way to do business. For a Paisa, nothing is ever too distant, too impossible, too unfeasible. Family and business are sacred and that is the extent of their limitation, the rest is all openness.

Growing up, we admired and took in their creativity and entrepreneurship and the utter kindness and personal touch of their delivery. That is what lies at the spine of Kalamarie.

At the very height of its troubles, Medellin’s shopping centres were open for business as usual and, then, as it is now, you would enter a shop as a potential customer and they would see in you a potential friend. Nothing is too much to ask, nothing is ever too much trouble. Their customer service is unparalleled in the world, their kindness as sincere and abundant as the flowers the city produces.

Medellin is as gentle and tenacious as any one place can be and we dearly love every bit of it. It is urban, it is green, it is heady, it is pure, it is intoxicating.

It has taken the city a huge shift in culture not just from its locals, but from the world around it, to start seeing the city for what it truly is and past its dark past. As local film-maker Simon Mesa Soto (quoted in Air France’s Magazine’s article) states: “ Medellin is gentle and caring, but it still has social challenges to tackle. Attitudes change more slowly than architecture does.”

So, to tempt you to book that flight, here are our reasons to visit Medellin:

1. Medellin is rich in The Arts. Head to Plaza Botero for the open-air exhibition of Fernando Botero’s sculptures and then into the covered museum, or simply be entertained by the street theatre and tango in the centre of town. If you time it right, you might catch during your visit the International Tango Festival, the International Poetry Festival, or the International Jazz Festival.

2. Medellin is rich in Literature. It is home to some of Latin America’s best writers. Tomas Carrasquilla, Fernando Gonzalez and Leon de Greiff all started their literary journeys in Medellin.

3. Medellin is an excellent hub for emerging or larger-scale textile business: it is hostess to Colombiatex and Colombiamoda.

4.  It is a hub for some of the best cuisine in the country.

5. It is also a hub for some of the best nightlife in the country, whether you are the chilled-out, have-a-drink-and-a-chat type, or the all-out-and-dancing-at-competition-level type.

6. In Via Primavera, you will find some of the most creative Paisas at work. It is a little street full of artists and independent designers who have set up their own businesses in amongst houses of coffee and wine bars. One of Kalamarie’s favourite spots.

Get booking! ; ) Follow our story bit by beat.

K&M x