So, you’re in Colombia, you want to go shopping, and you want to buy Colombian brands. Maybe you are shopping for yourself, or maybe you are looking for some sweet gifts to take back to family and friends, but you don’t really know where to start. Well, today, I want to help you by telling you about some well-known and quality Colombian brands that would be great for you to consider when looking for a special souvenir for yourself or buying thinking-of-you gifts to impress your loved ones back home.
Mario Hernandez is a high-end specialty Colombian leather store. If you or someone you know likes leather and you are looking for a nice leather purse, bag, belt, wallet, etc… to take back with you, this is the perfect store to visit. Be prepared to spend a little more than you may be used to, but be assured it’s good quality Colombian leather that will last. There are Mario Hernandez stores all over Colombia, including inside the newly opened international terminal in the El Dorado International Airport in Bogotá, but if you can’t make it to an actual store, you can order products online both from within and from outside Colombia.
(image from:http://www.velez.com.co/en/ )
Vélez is another traditional Colombian leather-based product store. Vélez is a little more within a reasonable budget than Mario Hernandez, and may have a bit more variety in some items. Similar to Mario Hernandez though, in Vélez, you will find products such as shoes, purses, bags, belts, jewelry, and even clothing. You can check out their website here to get a better idea of variety and prices: http://www.velez.com.co/en/.
(image from: http://bootsnbags.com/en/)
Boots and Bags is also a Colombian leather-based store, but unlike Vélez and Mario Hernandez, Boots and Bags only sells items that include or are accessories for bags and shoes, mostly made of leather. In Boots and Bags, you can find a good selection of bag types and styles as well as a decent range of prices. You can find lower-budget items such as key chains and wallets, as well as higher-budget items such as 100% leather purses and bags.
(image from: https://www.facebook.com/gef)
Different from the above mentioned brands, GEF is a mid-budget Colombian clothing store. Until recently, the brand focused on men and women’s clothing, pajamas, and undergarments, but they now have a growing line of children’s clothing as well. GEF clothing has a modern, clean-look appeal, and the collections are constantly changing—so, if you see something you like, buy it when you see it! You’ll also be surprised to know that GEF, unlike the previously mentioned brands, can be found in department stores and “supermarkets,” like Éxito and Jumbo, throughout Colombia, meaning you don’t necessarily have to find a GEF store front to check out the brand. Check out their website here: http://www.gef.com.co/.
(Image from: http://tennis.com.co/en)
Tennis is, like GEF, a Colombian clothing store. However, Tennis is a bit more expensive than GEF, and has its own unique style of clothing aimed more at younger adults and teenagers—think clothing with typically darker colors and styles with a definite punk/rock influence. Tennis has clothes, like GEF, for men, women, and children, as well as pajamas, shoes, jewelry, bags, and undergarments. Unlike GEF, Tennis brand clothing is not sold, that I have seen, in other stores, so you’ll need to find a Tennis store to check this brand out.
(image from: http://www.juanvaldezcafe.com/english/colombia)
Perhaps the most famous Colombian Brand is that of Juan Valdez. The Juan Valdez brand /image was created by the National Federation of Coffee Farmers of Colombia in the 1950s to promote Colombian coffee around the world, and has now been transformed into the face of a national coffee shop chain that produces its own coffee and sells products such as shirts, jackets, bags, coffee mugs, French presses, jewelry etc… with the Juan Valdez logo. While Juan Valdez is a national brand, you can now find Juan Valdez coffee shops in major cities around the world, such as Madrid, New York, and Miami as well. Visit the Juan Valdez website here: http://www.juanvaldezcafe.com/english/colombia.
(image from: https://www.facebook.com/coronamejoratuvida)
If you have a look at the aforementioned brands and still feel like you can’t find what you’re looking for, take a look at the ceramic dish lines of Corona, a Colombian ceramic brand founded in 1881. Corona brand items can be found in all types of stores in Colombia including Home Center, Olímpica, and Éxito. Within the Corona brand, you’ll find over-sized coffee mugs, coffee mugs, plates, bowls, and other kitchen items made from ceramic. These items could be nicely paired with some traditional Colombian sweets or even a nice bag of coffee from Juan Valdez! Visit the Corona website here: www.corona.com.co.
Paige M. Poole
About the author:
“Paige M. Poole is an Alabamian and traveler at heart who has settled, for now, in Barranquilla, Colombia, and earns her living as an English professor at the Instituto de Idiomas (Language Institute) at la Universidad del Norte (University of the North). When not teaching English, she enjoys blogging, traveling, relaxing on the beach, and spending time with her partner and two cats, Milo and Sophie. You can see more of Paige’s traveling experiences in her personal blog www.trotamunda.wordpress.com
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