Ayni was founded in 2006 by Adriana Cachay to preserve traditional artisanal skills and provide stable employment opportunities for artisans in her native Peru. The brand works with over 300 artisans across the country, 80% of whom are women. These artisans not only create each piece, but also help develop new techniques, styles and patterns in partnership with Adriana. Ayni is a testament to the beauty, traditions and cultures of Peru.
Each Ayni piece is handcrafted using locally-sourced materials, such as alpaca and pima cotton. It takes an average of three days to complete each garment. Each technique used to complete the garments is unique to a specific area: macrame and crochet are done by women in Lima, embroidery is done by women in Ayacucho, and knitting is done by women in Lima, Puno and Cusco. Adriana and her team train and support each artisan while providing opportunities for them to grow and improve. Difficulty finding qualified artisans early on led the team to develop Ayni Certify: a government-funded program that identifies and evaluates weavers and knitters across Peru and awards those who meet their standards an official seal of approval. To date, Ayni has certified more than 1,500 artisans across the country.
“We work with more than 300 families. We say families instead of workers as most of our knitters work from home, where they raise their families while they produce our products.” Adriana Cachay Anardo, Co-Founder
The brand’s name was inspired by one of Adriana’s trips to the floating islands of Peru. There, she witnessed the local community come together to build a home for a newlywed couple. When she asked what they were doing, the locals responded: “ayni.” They explained that the term meant “today for you, tomorrow for me,” which is the perfect embodiment of the brand’s ethos.