November 2019 - The Philanthropy Issue

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Stitching An Empire

Photo credit: Sarah Amanda Bray, Moda Operandi Trunk Show

Part-time San Miguel resident, Mariana Barran de Goodall, co-owns Hotel Amparo in San Miguel de Allende with her husband. Mariana's other business is a booming hand-embroidery company called Hibiscus Linens that has a massive following in the Southern United States. We sat down with Mariana for coffee at Hotel Amparo.

How did you learn to embroider and turn this into a business?

I started making small gifts for friends in Houston, and all of a sudden the gifts became really popular! I learned how to embroider at school in Monterrey from the nuns at my school. I didn't think I was doing anything really special, but it just sort of blew up, and now here we are. We work with brands all around, Moda Operandi has picked up some of my pieces and we've done a trunk show at their Madison Avenue Townhouse, and later this year we will be at Palmetto Bluff as the Artist in Residence for Garden & Gun. I've also partnered with Sister Parish design, finding people that appreciate and understand the time that it takes to create pieces by hand has been a big part of being able to make it into a business. When I was growing up, my mother owned a dance studio, so she was always making costumes and never wasted anything that she could use to be creative. I think I got that from her. I was always adding things to my clothes and making something into something else. I am very grateful that I've been able to turn my hobby into my livelihood and a career where we can teach other people how to do it themselves.

We saw that you were named an Artist in Residence for Garden & Gun Magazine. What does this mean?

It means a huge honor, I am very grateful that Garden and Gun has such an eye for craftsmanship. A few years ago, I won the G&G Best Craft in the South Award, and it was the perfect welcome to the South. We have a very strong following in the South and most of my classes are hosted everywhere from New Orleans to Birmingham, Dallas and Charleston. This fall, I am so happy to add Shreveport, Memphis, Jackson, Nashville, and Savannah to the list of cities where we will host embroidery workshops and pop-ups.

How many workshops a year do you do?

As many as people as for! It's hard for me to say no, as I love sharing what we do. I can say we host at least six a month on average, and I visit seval cities a year. We also host embroidery classes almost every time I'm in San Miguel de Allende, just like the class you took! Planning on doing a Maria Doll, Mexican Inspired on the morning of September 15th.

Where do you do them?

All over the country, and in Mexico at Hotel Amparo.

Tell us more about your time in Paris!

Paris is one of those places where you can find inspiration in every corner. I was lucky enough to spend several summers there when I was younger, and now I try to visit once a year. I have made it part of my business to go. We visit each year to source wine for Vinos Amparo which is the only low intervention, small producers importer of French wines into Mexico.

I spent summers at the Lesage School whose graduates often end up working for the fashion houses in Paris like Chanel. I modeled Hotel Amparo after one very small boutique hotel in Paris. They don't try to be everything to everyone. They just focus on what they do, and they execute it to perfection. They're not trying to be anything they are not, and that's how I want to be.

Follow Mariana on Instagram here.