The Prefix to Success
The Sophisticated Gypsy is the newest arrival to the boutique scene in Santa Barbara and it is the brainchild of Colombian native Natalia Duque. She chose the name because it seemed a fitting description of where she sees herself in life. She has lived in four states and two countries and has reinvented herself several times. She has always had a passion for design as well as language and law. In her recent past she was on a path to becoming partner in a law firm in Texas but it wasn’t the fulfillment she was looking for. “I think I always wanted something that was intellectually stimulating – something with history, philosophy and writing, but I also wanted to make a living.” A career in law certainly seemed to fit the bill, yet Natalia was not settled. “I was just one dimension. I wanted my life to have many more layers.”
Natalia has been an avid traveler and constantly runs after the things that matter most to her – self-awareness, education, understanding and adventure. It is clear that she has always been more multidimensional than she gives herself credit for and the inspiration for the term gypsy in her store name stems from her journeys.
“I had always wanted to move far from my family so I could learn things on my own and prove myself.” Natalia has achieved that time and time again by first receiving her undergrad in Florida, moving to Georgia to pursue her degree in law and marrying the love of her life and starting a family – redefining success every step of the way.
The recent death of her father led Natalia to start considering the tough questions of life and ultimately try to find where her happiness lies. Soon after her father’s passing, she quit her job as a lawyer to pursue her personal reinvention. What better place to start over than sunny Santa Barbara? So, she quit her job and she and her husband moved to California.
The Sophisticated Gypsy will inventory of a variety of goods, including hand knit Mochila bags, other textiles from Colombia and unique home decor from parts of Central America. Natalia plans to collect products from all over the world with the purposes of bringing exclusive gifts to the Santa Barbara area and educating others about culture and history different than their own. She recently returned from Northeast Colombia where she spent time with the craftsmen who are making her products. She wants to see firsthand how the Wayuu live and to understand the art of their craft.
The Wayuu people have inhabited the northeast corner of Columbia for centuries. Their arid landscape brushes shoulders with Venezuela and rests on the far edge of a vast desert barrier that separates the Wayuu from the rest of Colombia. Despite many hardships this tribe faces, their vibrant culture speaks through the loud colors of their world-renowned Mochila bags and other handknit textiles. [telegraph.co.uk]
In addition to championing the people and crafts of Colombia, Natalia wants to “celebrate feminine intelligence” through her brand. She hopes that the attitude that she brings will appeal to “accomplished, educated women who have an appreciation for art and history.” The Sophisticated Gypsy is more than just retail. Each piece Natalia sells has a story. She hopes her visitors will want to understand and appreciate the story and the craftsmanship of each item and purchase not just for the quality, but for the connection it brings.
The Sophisticated Gypsy can be found in Paseo Nuevo, private events and in wine country. But, if you’re looking for a storefront with a glass door and a bell, you’ll never find it. Instead, keep your eyes peeled for a 1945 American Glider Trailer that Natalia has meticulously restored. Upon entering her chic boutique you can find tasteful pieces for $15 as well as sophisticated designs for up to $500. Be prepared to learn and experience a culture that has not yet touched Santa Barbara.
Not many are brave enough to choose this path, but Natalia has intentionally chosen risk over complacency. She advises: “Align your life with what matters to you. Trust yourself, because you’re the only one that knows best what matters most. Continue to redefine success.” The word success is thrown around a lot and has never lost its air of ambiguity. Don’t avoid it – define it.
Look for the Sophisticated Gypsy trailer in Pueso Nuevo shopping center!