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is taken from a mud volcano located on the Caribbean coast of Colombia, between the cities of Barranquilla and Cartagena, whose mud baths are highly sought after by tourists from around the world for the benefits to health and beauty. But El Totumo is also a tree (Crescentia cujete) with deep roots, known in English as calabash gourd tree, native to America and distributed throughout the tropics. Its fruit, whose dried shell is used to make containers and handcrafts of great beauty, also has many medicinal qualities, and it is used by indigenous and rural communities to address, especially, respiratory conditions.

We therefore believe that the name represents our artisans from America to Africa very well, where hundreds of men and women want to show the world their amazing artistic talent through what they do best. Many of these artisans are living in rural or indigenous territory in countries such as Colombia, Kenya and South Africa.

The calabash is the culmination of a dream: to bring authentic ethnic and popular folk art to the hands of a consumer who values multiculturalism and appreciates the social sense of the project. We practice fair business trade principles, which allow artisans to obtain a fair price for their products and achieve a better quality of life. The buyer, meanwhile, enjoy products that have a history of value and respect for human beings and their environment, while contributing to a work that benefits producers, since part of our earnings are intended to help women and men to build their life projects and small craft workshops where they make the excellent products you will find in El Totumo.

Vivian Vassallo has not worked in fashion, has not dressed celebrities, and did not decide to embark in this line of work from an "aha" moment while having exotic vacations in remote places. Born and raised to a working class Italian immigrant family in the northern coast of Colombia, taking every opportunity small or large to learn and dream of improving the lives of her own family and those less fortunate, Vivian never shied away from hard work. Fortune has it that after graduating from college, her first job provided her first international work-travel experience.

Ever since and after 32 years in the international workforce, she has seen the opportunity of the many ways we can all help struggling societies around the world. Through El Totumo she wants to contribute to help others have a little piece of a better life by providing a platform to showcase who these artisans are and how talented they are, and the importance they play as human beings. Raising awareness and by sharing the stories of some of these hard working people is El Totumo's contribution to improve the lives of others. Be part of it.



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