Shopping at Faith Colectiva
The Basilio Badillo shop is small and inconspicuous. But once you step inside, you immediately find yourself surrounded by beauty, spirituality and good intentions.
Faith Colectiva is one of several tiny shops along Basilio Badillo St. in Colonia Emiliano Zapata that truly draws you in. They feature beautiful handmade jewelry and fashion accessories with deep connections to Mexico and some Latin American countries. The centerpiece of the shop, however, are their beautiful mala or prayer beads, traditionally used in meditation.
The venture was founded by fashion designer Katie Coleman almost a decade ago. Originally from Connecticut, she worked in New York City’s fashion industry for 14 years and has been around the world five or six times, visiting important shows throughout Europe and Asia. The story behind her connection to Puerto Vallarta is as unique as her sensibility.
“Twelve years ago I came to a meditation workshop at the Sheraton Buganvilias,” she recalls. “It was a turning point in my life, so I decided to attend on a whim. I didn’t know anybody, but met people from all over the world and keep participating every year since. But most importantly, I fell in love with Mexico.”
“Mexico just sucks you in with gorgeous fabrics and colors and I love the spirituality in the country. It is a very magical place.”
When asked if there was anything in particular on that first trip to Puerto Vallarta that compelled her to return, she is quick to mention the Malecon. “There is something truly wonderful going on there on Sunday nights. The families that walk, the vendors selling juices and toys… It captured my spirit.”
It was vendors, specifically, that compelled her to launch Faith Colectiva a few years later.
Like many tourists and locals, Coleman found herself relaxing at Los Muertos Beach restaurants on a frequent basis. She began noticing the same vendors walking by day after day, selling their wares, facing frequent rejection, but always smiling. “I was overwhelmed,” she recalls. “I wanted to be able to buy everything, but knew I couldn’t.” She was particularly interested in a few women who used to sell necklaces and braid hair and decided to take action.
Coleman invited a few women to work for her, teaching them how to string and bead gemstones, transforming them into beautiful necklaces and bracelets. “The work they did was fantastic,” she said. “They did it with joy, happiness and gratitude, and they have been with me for six or seven years.”
The only request the women made was to continue working through the Summer months. Coleman eagerly complied. Today, the women get together at the store on a weekly basis, usually on Mondays or Thursdays, and set up shop, producing malas and bracelets, which are sold at the store and also online, through the website, theladyfaith.com.