meet: cristina of olula

this week we are talking to cristina from olula. olula is a line of handmade sewn goods, custom fabrics and printed designs all designed by cristina! cristina lives in madrid and started olula ten years ago. she is so kind to share her thoughts on her olula experience with us! 

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what is your background?
i have always been very fond of crafting. when i was a child, i used to be surrounded by scissors, papers, glue and fabrics trying to create new things. at school those activities were my favorite ones, and at home i was always embarked in very ambitious projects such as building cardboard robots or huge doll houses.

i also enjoy films and literature and wanted to study something creative, so i chose audiovisual communication and worked as a scriptwriter. at that time i did not think of turning my hobby into a job.

i am self taught and enjoy finding out the best way to create what is in my mind. i think things must have a good finished and i work hard to make it. a few years ago, i studied screen printing and that offered me a new world of possibilities, both for my job and for enjoying.

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how did you start crafting & selling with olula?
just by chance. once my mother had a little torn on her coat and i decided to buy some felt to try making a brooch for hiding it. i enjoyed a lot the process and also was very happy with the result, so i designed more brooches and then necklaces, earrings... people encouraged me and i began to think of the possibility of selling them. i made a small collection and visited several shops in my town, madrid. i had a little trick: i always wore a piece of mine so the owner could not avoid seeing my work ;) and discovered with joy that they were very interested in selling my products. from that time on, i knew i was going to try to make a living of it. that is how my brand olula was born. a few years later, javi, my partner, joined my project and now we share life and business.

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what does the name olula mean?
olula is the name of a village. when javi and i first traveled together, when we were dating, we went to some beautiful beaches in the south of spain. on the way, i saw from the road a sign with the name of the village and thought that sounded very nice. i said: if i ever had to put name to something, it would be olula, so when my project was born i did so. the thing is that i knew later that olula is not a very nice village, but i do not care. i guess it needed a pretty name to compensate :)

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what inspires your fun products and style?
nature inspires most of my designs. i love being outdoors looking at birds, flowers and everything which surrounds me. i also like simple forms and plain colors. fun objects and bright colors do not need to be only for kids. our home is plenty of colorful cushions, pictures and ornaments, and i find it cozy and cheerful.

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what’s your favorite item in your shop?
the sandwich bag is my favorite product. it is a small cotton bag to carry your lunch, with a smiling toast printed at one side. i think a smiling face is always a nice way to start a new day.

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what are you looking forward to this year?
i am very happy with how things are going lately so i would be very glad if things keep going this way :) i recently launched a new collection (the evergreen collection, see one piece here) and i am very satisfied of how it is going. i am planning to get more visibility in northern europe and japan. we recently met a fantastic japanese girl who is in charge of introducing our products there... i've got my fingers crossed!

regarding my personal life, i am very excited with the travel to japan we plan to do next spring. i am sure it is going to be very inspiring!

olula for everglow handmade

what advice would you give to makers who are just getting started? 
this is very difficult, because each of us has its own circumstances but if i had to say something it would be: trust yourself. if you think you have something different or better to offer, go for it, but look for your individuality and for what makes you different because otherwise you will not be able to stand out from the huge amount of products which are on the market.

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cristina is kindly offering everglow handmade readers a 10% coupon to her etsy with the code 'EVERGLOWOLULA' until the end of november. you can get that head start on christmas shopping that you've always wanted!

thanks so much for your time, cristina! i love your ambition and how you went out there with a fearlessness. also, as someone who didn't get a degree in anything creative, it's so inspiring to see how you've made yourself a career and an awesome brand. way to get it, girl! be sure to check out more of olula on their website, instagram and blog.