Today we’d like to introduce you to Caitlin Garcia-Ahern.
Caitlin, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I started Thread Caravan a little over 4 years ago in an effort to support artisan communities in away that is not dependent on consumerism. I wanted to combine my expertise in art and education by focusing on educational programs around handmade craft processes.
The first workshop I hosted was a weaving workshop in Guatemala – a workshop that we still run today. From there, our workshop offerings and network of artisan communities grew as we continued to immerse ourselves in the work.
Has it been a smooth road?
There have been some challenges along the way, but all obstacles worth moving forward through.
I started the business with no investment capital. With no budget for marketing, it took a couple of years to spread the word about our offerings — I had to put in a ton of work those first two years, working side jobs to pay my bills while still giving Thread Caravan my focus despite there being no immediate growth.
If I weren’t so passionate about the project, I’m sure I would have quit in those first two years. I always tell people who are considering starting their own business, that they need to be deeply passionate about it; that passion is what will give them the fuel to continue through the challenges.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Thread Caravan story. Tell us more about it and what makes Thread Caravan unique.
We host cultural art workshops in collaboration with indigenous artisans in Guatemala, Oaxaca, Panama, Morocco, and India. We facilitate cross-cultural connection through hands-on craft education in areas such as ceramics, weaving, embroidery, mezcal-making, cooking and more.
While many people host retreats, I believe what sets us apart are our relationships with the local communities. When I started Thread Caravan, I moved to Guatemala and lived there, to ensure closer relationships with community members. I now live in Oaxaca, Mexico where the majority of our workshops take place.
How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
It’s changed so much just in the past 4 years that I’ve been running Thread Caravan. .For example, Airbnb launched their experiences, and I’ve seen a ton of new small tourism companies pop-up.
In general, people are putting more emphasis on experiences rather than things, and I think this pattern will continue to grow.
- Ceramics in Oaxaca – 6 days – $1,450
- Natural Dyes and Weaving in Oaxaca – 7 days – $2,200
- Weaving Workshop in Guatemala – 7 and 9 days – $2,400 – $3,400
- Mezcal, Maiz y Mole in Oaxaca – 5 days – $1,450
- Sailing and Embroidery in Panama – 5 days – $2,700 – $3,600
- Hammock Making in Oaxaca – 7 days – $2,500
- Block Printing and Natural Dyeing in India – 10 days – $4,000 – $5,200
- Website: www.threadcaravan.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/threadcaravan
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/threadcaravan
- Other: www.threadcaravan.etsy.com
Linda Campos, Kyle Dorosz, Paula Harding