What's in a name?

So, we are going to give this blog thingy a try. Since we started off telling you about how we got the idea we figured that we would continue in that vein and talk a little bit about our story and how we came to be. Today I want to share with you the story of our name Filanthropik: Threads of Humanity.


The truth is, coming up with a name for your business is hard. It is almost like naming your child, in more ways than one I guess. 

When we decided to do this we wanted to do it right. We knew we wanted a name that would communicate our mission and desire to do good.  I had a name that I thought would identify us well.


Quitapenas (pronounced Key-tah-PEH-nas) literally means takes away pains.  The Guatemalan quitapenas are traditional Mayan worry dolls.  The tradition is that parents would give these dolls to their children if they were scared or worried about something. The kids were told to share their fears and worries with these dolls and then put them under their pillows and the dolls would protect them and help them to sleep peacefully.  I loved the idea of having a name that was rooted in Mayan tradition and meaning.  I also liked the idea that it communicated, that through our little venture we would be doing our small part to take away the pains of poverty by providing jobs and income to our artisans as well as through our donations to our partners working to alleviate the pains of poverty in Guatemala. I figured we could even include a small quitapenas doll with every purchase! It would be perfect!  I was sold. You may have noticed that I have been using I a lot. Sandra was less than convinced. So I decided to test the name first. We posted it on Facebook to get feed back, and boy are we glad we did.


Sometimes, when you are too close to the subject, you are blinded by that closeness. We were ready to roll with our name but the feedback that we got was not good.  You see, we speak Spanish, so we knew how to pronounce it.  One of our friends pointed out that that is not the case for most of our audience, including himself.  He thought it was pronounced differently and actually thought it almost sounded vulgar. I will let you guess what how he was pronouncing it (or maybe you already thought the same thing :-S)


So, it was back to the drawing board.


Again, we wanted something that would communicate our mission. Sandra also wanted something that incorporated the idea of thread and weaving since our sandals and bags are all hand woven.  We looked at the word philanthropic, but figured we would have been lost in the crowd in a Google search.  She kept working on it. I went upstairs to finish getting ready for the day.  A few minutes later Sandra came upstairs with an idea.  See, the latin word for thread is filum. It is the root word for filament.  If we spelled philanthropic with an 'F' we could change its meaning to fit our needs even better.  We would be mixing the Latin, filum, and the Greek word for humanity, anthropos, to create a word that literally meant "Threads of humanity."


Sandra had done it. She nailed it. She had come up with a name that communicated our desire to do good along while also incorporating the symbolism of the threads that would make up our products.  We added the 'K' to continue with the unique spelling and we were ready to go!


So there you have it. Now you know the story and the meaning behind our name Filanthropik: Threads of Humanity.

Here are 20 tips from Vista Print on how to figure out a name for YOUR business.


Below you can see some of the evolutions of our logo.

1. The Filanthropic diamond logo. This was one of Sandra's very first attempts at creating a logo, before we switched the 'C' for a 'K'.

2. We were so excited when our artisan partners told us that they could put our logo into the shoes that they make for us! This is a picture of your FK stamp.

3. Our final logo came from fiverr.com, where you can get almost anything you want done starting at only $5! It incorporates our FK logo with a new font and the brightly colored band that represents the beautiful and bright weavings of Guatemala.



Featured: Gladiator Sandals, Minimalist and Ethically Made

Check out this new post at Fashionhedge where they featured our trenza sandals and discussed their position in the always trendy gladiator sandal space.


Some highlights:

"Everyone from Nordstrom to NastyGal and Zappos is going hard on gladiator sandals of different heights, heels and colors. But I found one of the very few ethically made and minimalist version of this spring fashion essential (at a good price, too!)."


"These sandals are super light and the straps are made with braided leather, they are handmade in Guatemala and part of the proceeds go to fund educational and humanitarian causes in the country. I loved the versatility and the natural leather color, they are gladiator-ish without feeling costumy at all."


Thank you to Yarina and Fashionhedge for the feature


How it all Started

Sandra has always had a bit of an entrepreneurial spirit.  Having both lived in developing countries, we have always admired social entreprise and wondered what we could do to make a difference. When Sandra's sister Alejandra sent us a package of Guatemalan goodies for Christmas last year we were super excited.  It had all kinds of treats that reminded Sandra of her childhood along with a sweet shirt for Kyle, a beautiful purse for Sandra and a couple pairs of brightly colored sandals for our daughters Delilah and Ruby.  As soon as Sandra posted the picture of Delilah with the contents of the package on Facebook, her friends started asking where they could get the sandals. 

little girl's sandals, package from Guatemala, handmade sandals, galletas chiky, tortrix
Delilah with the package from Tia Ale

That got us thinking... what if? What if WE sold them? What if we made it a social enterprise by paying a fair price to the artisans and then donated a portion to organizations doing good in Guatemala? Could Ale buy them for us? How much do they cost? How much to ship them up here? How much would we have to sell them for for all of this to make sense? And on and on the questions came and greater and greater the excitement grew.  I don't know what the tipping point was, but I think the prospect of making a difference in the lives of others while also improving our own situation ever so slightly and giving an opportunity for Ale to make a little extra as well was too much to deny.  We were going to do it. What exactly "it" was, and what we would call "it" were yet to be determined (and to a certain extent still are ;) but we are excited.

Next post will be a little more about our adventures in starting up a company, so stay tuned.



Hey Everybody... well, all two of you who might read this... it’s my fault, I obviously haven’t been consistent with this whole blog thing... but maybe that just makes this post that much moresignificant.

See, the thing is, a lot is happening right now, and while we recognize that there are many other voices more eloquent and credible and relevant than our own, especially the voices of our blackbrothers and sisters, we want to take the opportunity to add our voice to the choir.

Our brothers and sisters are hurting, and they have been hurting for a long time. We made a new friend at a recent march and his sign said it well. 
“401 Years! Knees Still On Our Necks. Stop. Let’s Love Each Other.”

Our new friend is from Ghana.
I have been to Ghana. I have walked through the Elmina Slave Castle in Ghana that acted as a main hub of the slave trade starting in the 15th century. It is an eerie and haunting and profoundly moving place.

The first African slaves arrived in British North America, later to become the United States of America, in 1619. 401 years ago.

This ugly history is not necessarily hidden or anything, but the continued collective suffering of the black community at the hands of racism has been brought front and center to the world’s attention in recent weeks.

From the extrajudicial lynching of Ahmaud Arbery, to the killing by police of Breona Taylor as she lay in her bed, to the murder of George Floyd as he lay on his face with an officer’s knee inhisneckfor 8 minutes and 46 seconds, almost 6 minutes of him calling for help, saying “I can’t breath”, and crying for his already deceased “Mama!” And almost another 3 whole minutes after he hadstoppedstruggling, after he had stopped calling out, after he had stopped breathing, and quite possibly after he had stopped living, the knee stayed on his neck.

We have all seen it by now.
It breaks my heart to describe it.

The cell phone footage went viral immediately.
The conversations and outrage blew up.
People from all walks of life condemned what they saw, including many police officers who saw this and knew that their jobs had just gotten that much harder.

The protests started within days.