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Meet Judy Saada of Etnico Culture in Encinitas

Today we’d like to introduce you to Judy Saada.

Judy, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My mom was Guatemalan, and in her early 20’s she immigrated to the U.S. She missed her “country” very much as she would say and ever since I was very little she instilled in me the love for her culture & roots. She taught me that life was hard, to pursue my goals and to never give up.

After she passed away, in the early 90’s, I moved to Guatemala to live with my sister and family. Now, Guatemala was my culture and it was part of my roots. First hand I was able to experience the love for the people, their food, their customs, and their art. I lived in Antigua, Guatemala for 16 years and began to appreciate how special it was to live in such a beautiful, lush, and historical country.

Fast forward to last year, my goal to introduce Guatemalan culture through the intricate handmade weaving and leather goods was made possible and most importantly to have the honor of working with local artisans in Guatemala and to help support the community of hard-working women and men.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It actually didn’t seem like a reality, but I really wanted to make it one. The distance has been difficult, but it’s been a more positive impact than anything else with the fact that I am in close proximity with the faces behind the works of art from the textile weavers, Mayan communities, women’s cooperatives, the local market vendors.

Another perk of making all product in Guatemala and working side by side with the artisans is being able to visit my family in Antigua, a beautiful colonial city surrounded by cobblestone roads and gorgeous landscapes.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Etnico Culture story. Tell us more about the business.
We manufacture high-quality leather products incorporating traditional Mayan weaving dating back thousands of years and we are proud to carry socially conscious pieces contributing to a sustainable market with up-cycled and long lasting products.

Every bag is handmade, using designs that are hand sewn with naturally dyed fabric made of plants and seeds and produced using a traditional weaving process by Mayan descendants. Each piece is intricately designed combining trendy fashion with traditional styles. We specialize in handbags, wristlets, totes, clutches, cosmetic pouches, ties, etc. all with a splash of flavor with Mayan textiles.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
It’s not that I view my life as good luck or bad luck, but most importantly I thrive from the support I have received from my family and community. This is what makes my dream a reality.


  • Cosmetic pouches range between $8.00-$20.00
  • Ties $30.00
  • Small bags $149.00
  • Large handbags $210

Contact Info:

  • Website:
  • Phone: 760-207-9094
  • Email:
  • Instagram: etnicoculture
  • Facebook: @etnicoculture

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