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Meet Juliana and Sima of Moccian

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When architect Juliana and interior designer Sima met at a mutual friend's graduation, they had no idea they would go into business together. After discovering their shared traditions and deep connection with their Venezuelan heritage, they decided to create Moccian, a lifestyle company that brings art, design and techniques from Venezuela to the global community. Moccian has partnered with a Venezuelan women's nonprofit near their hometown, to employ indigenous women and maintain and celebrate the culture's traditional craft techniques. Read more about them in our interview below! And be sure to check out their collection here.

How did you two meet? What's your background?

We both were born and raised in Venezuela and moved to the United States a couple of years ago to pursue our careers. I’m [Julia] an Architect and Sima is an Interior Designer; we both are madly in love with beauty and great design. Given these similarities and other universe tricks, we met in Los Angeles in 2013 at a graduation of a common friend!! Honestly, we became instant friends- it was definitely meant to be!
One of the main reasons we clicked was and still is our ideals - our shared traditions as well as our deep connection to our culture. It is this deep connection that brought Moccian to life, with a core mission to give back our home country. Moccian is a lifestyle brand of highly designed, curated, handmade pieces inspired by the idea of bringing art, design, and techniques from Venezuela to a global audience.

What's the significance of the name Moccian?

There are three main reasons Moccian came to life:
  1. The first product that we fell in love with and how the whole idea of bring them to the States was a mochila! Mochila is an Spanish word that means bag or backpack. 
  2. We LOVE that it sounds like the word ‘motion’ because Moccian is curating fashion design pieces that are created and designed by women for the woman of today, who travels around the world and undertakes new adventures while looking chic and beautiful.
  3. We needed a new, fresh name that combined all of our feelings and ideas so we invented the name Moccian, which is the combination of our last names.

You currently partner with a non-profit organization, providing work to women in Venezuela. How did you find this non-profit and why did you choose them?

When we started this project, it was extremely important to get our products from the source, because we want to give back as much as we can. At first, we started curating and sourcing from small, local stores but then realized that it would be a great idea to also work with nonprofit organizations who already have similar programs in motion. The non-profit we are affiliated with has programs that are helping directly the indigenous women who are making our beautiful products!

What are some challenges you face when partnering to produce these handbags?

The biggest challenge that we personally face at the moment is wanting to be there with them while they are making the products. As you can imagine, these women are hand-weaving these products with ancestral techniques and we would love to be there in every step. We have not been able to yet, but we are sure that we will be able to be part of this process soon...we are working on it! While there are many challenges in undertaking a project like this, when you do things with love and perseverance, everything is possible.

Proudest moment so far?

Bringing Moccian to life and being present at every step. We love seeing how people relate to our brand and want to be part of this movement... We are very proud about that!

Do you have a dream project?

Our dream project is to one day have a Moccian Organization to keep helping and developing new projects with this communities in Latin America and the world.

Favorite artist(s) in any field, living or dead?

Juliana : I currently work at Gehry Partners , and the main reason why is because I admire Frank Gehry so much, he is a true artist and one of my greatest role models.
Sima: Jackson Pollock for sure, His natural art expression and spontaneous way of breaking patterns has always inspired me with my art.

What's the first thing you remember making?

Juliana: I was probably 12 the first thing I remember making something I really liked. It was a little painting of Frida Kahlo, I remember I saw a photo of her on a book and decided to replicated the photo, soon I realized how much I love free hand painting!
Sima: Back on my first modeling class I remember doing a bright structure with straws.The challenge was doing it without using any type of glue and it has to support three books! I was very happy when I made that happen.

You live in the vibrant city of LA! How does your environment impact your work?

LA is an amazing city! It is an incubator of ideas an perfect place to develop new projects. We are surrounded by amazing people from different fields everyday and this is really inspiring. It is also a great home for Moccian, because Angelenos are very diverse and open to new things.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out?

It's not easy, but if you put in the work... it's all possible. If you strive every day, and never forget that you are doing something that you are passionate everything is going to flow!

Ideal Sunday?

Juliana : Brunch with family and friends and Korean spa!
Sima: Be around nature with a tasty tea and a great book!

Welcome to the community, Moccian! Be sure to check out their beautiful collection of woven handbags here.