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Meet Cambria Foden of Unalome in East Hollywood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Cambria Foden.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Cambria. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My handbag brand, Unalome, was born about a year ago after a vacation to Ecuador that took an unexpected turn. Last year, my boyfriend and I traveled to the coast of Ecuador for a wellness retreat, however, when we tried to fly home at the end of our trip, we found ourselves stuck in the city of Guayaquil for 5 more days than originally planned – due to a country-wide eye infection epidemic, we were prohibited from flying and had no idea when we would be able to return home. Despite feeling scared and lost in an unfamiliar city, it was on the very last day in that city that I met Vanessa, who is now Unalome’s Production Supervisor. It really feels like the universe did everything it could to keep me in Guayaquil – and this is how Unalome began!

I met Vanessa in her family’s hat shop and we struck up a conversation about her family’s multi-generational tradition of producing hats out of one of Ecuador’s finest natural resources; toquilla straw. I was impressed by the craftsmanship of the products in her shop, so we stayed in touch, chatting often on WhatsApp. Since then, I’ve been designing bags here in Los Angeles, which are then each handwoven by female artisans in the remote highlands of Ecuador, that Vanessa oversees.

Has it been a smooth road?
I feel very lucky that it’s been a smooth road so far. Of course, you always want certain things to happen faster than they do, but I’ve learned to be patient as my brand grows. It’s important to take time to build a sturdy foundation. The best, but also the hardest, part about running my own business is that I’m the founder, product designer, creative director, accountant, marketing and social media manager – you name it – all at the same time! It’s sometimes overwhelming to carry the responsibility of managing so many moving parts, but it’s also what makes things exciting!

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Unalome is an LA-based brand known for its effortlessly elegant straw handbags. We work with incredibly talented female artisans, in the highlands of Ecuador, who weave each one of our bags by hand, using locally-sourced materials. We’re passionate about supporting a local craft and tradition that has been passed down by women for generations, whose beauty can be shared with the rest of the world. This is something that I’m very proud of being a part of.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
LA is an inspiring city because so many people here are passionate about what they do. They’re brave enough to follow whatever it is that lights that fire inside of them, and to work hard enough to make those things into a career. The line between work and life is often blurry in this city, and I think that’s because a lot of people actually love what they do. I find that mindset very inspiring and motivating for entrepreneurs like myself. It’s important to love how you spend your days because life is short!


  • Our bags range from $95 to $285

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