It feels great knowing you鈥檙e purchasing something that directly supports the creator. And thanks to聽Rock + Pillar Trading Co, you can do just that without much thought or effort on your end.聽Rock + Pillar聽sources handmade products from Peru and offers them to consumers in the United States through their site (thank you, technology!). A community of women in Peru make each product completely by hand. Read on to find out about the dynamic duo behind the brand, and get ready to rock Rock + Pillar from head to toe with their infinity聽scarves, leather聽bags,聽boots聽and more!

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Alma Hartman, and I started Rock + Pillar with my partner, Parvez Pothiawala. We met in Burlington, Vermont but both come from international backgrounds. I was born in Bangalore, India and grew up in Singapore and Vermont. Parvez spent most of his early life in Vermont, but traveled back to India regularly. We met last summer and quickly found we shared many core principles regarding how we viewed our country of residence and the world as a whole.

Why did you decide to start Rock + Pillar?

Parvez and I consider ourselves global citizens first and foremost. We鈥檝e both had experience working for conventional industries and understand the motivation behind organizations that are private and/or profit-driven. Those experiences coupled with our time discovering the rich history of artisanal practices in Peru were the catalysts for starting Rock + Pillar. We want to not only help our producers become economically independent, but we want to help the communities they are a part of benefit as well.

How did you come up with聽the聽name?

We came up with our name when I was in Peru working and Parvez was back in the states working for a different startup. We were both going through some trying times and would lean heavily on each other for support. It was during one of our conversations that I called him my 鈥渞ock鈥 and he said I was his 鈥減illar.鈥 The name was an embodiment of us and also of the principles of this business.

What is your current favorite product in your shop?

Our handmade boots.聽We鈥檙e working with a single family of boot makers who make everything by hand. We are head over heels in love with them. Our lotions are a close second.

Where do you get your inspiration?

Nature. The Peruvian people, especially indigenous cultures of that area, revere the mountains as gods. When you鈥檙e actually in the Andes, you start to understand why. That reverence for the environment applies to the largest peaks and the smallest plants. Peruvians鈥 connection to the land and the land itself is a constant and plentiful source of inspiration.

Describe what a perfect Saturday morning would be for you.

Cusco, Peru. We would walk down to our neighborhood market and grab fresh juice from one of the local mammis. Then we鈥檇 eat Sierra-style ceviche river trout with ginger and rice. After that we鈥檇 take a beautiful hike in Urubamba or Ollantaytambo (all in the Sacred Valley).

What鈥檚 one piece of advice you鈥檇 share with other small business owners?

It鈥檚 one thing to have a passion and creative drive, but to confront the realities of running your own business can be daunting and honestly a drag. But know that all the negative aspects are allowing you to pursue your creative passions.

Tell us how technology has changed and supported what you do.

Without tech, we wouldn鈥檛 be able to do what we do. We鈥檝e been able to reach our target audiences with the click of a mouse and highlight products from the wilds of Peru to our friends in the U.S. We鈥檝e also been able to employ people in Peru while still traveling the U.S. Our business, simply put, would not exist without tech.

What鈥檚 up next for Rock + Pillar?

Back to Peru! Our time in the U.S. has been chockfull of lessons and has really helped us refine our motives and philosophy behind our sustainable goods company. We are heading back to refine our products and to work toward being fully transparent. Plus, we dearly miss those majestic mountains.

Get your handmade artisanal goods over at the聽Brit + Co Shop!聽