Sandy Guja draws from her native Peru to launch alpaca outwear brand Llamita
In launching the luxury alpaca outerwear brand Llamita, Menlo Park resident Sandy Guja says she’s combined “all the things I really love.”
Sandy was born in Peru, moving to New York when she was three but visiting her native country every summer to visit relatives. “I went to the Andes and watched the handweaving of alpaca caps and blankets,” she recalls. “It’s a very sustainable fiber. As soon as it’s made, it’s ready to be worn.”
Her career in New York included managing a business (not in the the fashion field) and doing styling for the annual fashion week, which allowed her to work with designers. “When I knew we were moving to California and I realized I’d need to do something new, the idea of alpaca outwear came to mind.”
She describes alpacas as “beautiful, calm and intelligent domestic animals that are prized by the Incas for their fiber known as the ‘fiber of the gods.'” Their fleece is softer than cashmere, eight times stronger and warmer than sheep’s wool as well as water resistant.
Online only at the moment, Sandy was in talks with a number of local stores before the pandemic hit. “That’s still my goal, to get my line into retail stores,” she says. “Customers are currently finding Llamita online search, so I’m selling everywhere. It would be nice to establish a local clientele as well!”
Photo by Scott R. Kline (c) 2020