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“Shop Small” is a series where we speak to founders of small businesses discussing how their products and services address the needs of the members of the communities in which the founders identify.
Finding stylish, sustainable products can be difficult. That’s why Natalia Machado started Hola I’m Back (@hola.imback), a company collective that exclusively sources products from sustainable brands. From stunning statement necklaces made of discarded tires to beautiful vases that will transform your home, Hola I’m Back is a one-stop shop for ethically-sourced home goods and fashion.
Natalia first came up with the idea for Hola I’m Back while spending time in Colombia. Initially, she envisioned launching a pop-up shop that would feature different sustainable brands. “I was thinking, ‘You know what? One day, I’m going to rent out a big house and I’m gonna have different brands in different rooms, but that brand has to be from recycled products,’ she tells In The Know.
But Natalia found too many exciting brands for a single pop-up shop. Instead of launching a one-time pop-up, she decided to start a company that continuously seeks out the best recycled, upcycled, and sustainable products. “I found amazing brands that are focused on just recycling, upcycling, repurposing,” she explains. “So the idea is sustainability. [It’s] not just an accessory, not just fashion. It’s in your home, in your living room, in your garden.”
Natalia decided to name her company “Hola I’m Back” because all of the products she sells have, at some point, been given new life through recycling or upcycling. “When you put something in the garbage, it stays there, right? But now we are recycling,” she tells In The Know. “So we are collecting the rubber, we are collecting the banana waste, we are collecting our plastic bottles, and we are transforming these materials into a new product. So basically, this new product is saying, ‘Hola, I’m back!’”
Hola I’m Back features an eclectic mix of brands, each of which has its own unique approach to sustainability. One brand makes necklaces out of recycled tires, while another creates beautiful jewelry out of dried fruit. Natalia also sells products from her own brand, called Hola! Terra, which makes sustainable planters in different colors and creative shapes.
Natalia hopes that Hola I’m Back will convince consumers that sustainability and luxury are not mutually exclusive. Her mission is to sell products that are both high quality and sustainable. “My message is that upcycling, repurposing, [and] sustainability can be also luxurious, stylish, [and] cool,” she explains. “We can continue having a really amazing home. We can continue being pretty while we are cleaning the planet and we are supporting all these environmental situations.”
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