Panama, Casco Viejo, Casco Antiguo
In Casco we have a number of businesses whose creators/ owners live in the neighborhood. We love this combination, as we ourselves (both Arco Properties and Conservatorio) are business owners and full time residents. Combining living with creating and being an entrepreneur has always fascinated me, because all of a sudden one neighborhood becomes “many” neighborhoods in one.
Manos con Arte (Hands with Art) is one of those small businesses. Created by two Jorges, Jorge Aguilar and Jorge Cabrera, Manos is a platform that managed to grow during Covid thanks to the digital world. Here, they tell us a bit about their experience.
Tell us a bit about yourselves, how did you get to Panama, how did you get to Casco?
Jorge Aguilar: in my case, I came through a company that brought me for business. I was supposed to come for 3 years, fell in love with Panama and now I have already 6.
Jorge Cabrera: I came looking for better opportunities in life due to the situation in my country Venezuela. Panama has given me stability and many beautiful things, now I´ve been here 5 years.
We came to Casco 2 years ago, precisely looking to expand Manos con Arte… and what a better place than this!
And how was Manos con Arte born? Have you had businesses of your own before?
During a family trip to Mexico near Christmas, in Queretaro, I was walking by and saw these indigenous artisans selling Christmas crowns made of tamale leaves, and thought “I´ve never seen this in Panama, I should take some and sell them”. Bought 15 and came back the next day and sold out in two days, and people kept asking me for more. That´s when I saw the opportunity not only of a business but of being a platform to support artisans, indigenous or independent. Afterwards, due to my work, I had to travel through Latinamerica a lot, so I started making contact with artisans from different countries, creating a wide web. Covid made us focus, though, in Mexico.
We started going to the artisan markets and people started to recognize us. When Covid came, we started to focus on the digital channels and that´s when growth came.
Tell us your experience as a resident and business owner in Casco
We love living in Casco! Walking the streets, with such a close and gentle community, always looking out for the common good. Having the business here, is being in an area of so much cultural diversity. When we get clients from abroad or even Panamanians, they are happy that they can come to the office and take the time to enjoy Casco afterwards.
Something I really like of your Instagram account is how you manage all the visuals, using every single corner and detail of Casco as a location. Who is the one with the magic eye? Who has the ideas and who executes? By the way, love your models! Who are they?
Jaja thanks!!! Well, I created the image and I´m in charge of keeping it (Jorge Cabrera). I´ve always loved the creative side and fashion. I took some photography courses, so I´m comfortable letting my ideas drive me.
All the models are friends of ours! Normal people, which is what we like to transmit, to be inclusive, fashion is for everyone, every style, colors and flavors! jajaja
What is Manos Con Arte´s next step?
We are working on the web page to have more reach and be able to expand internationally.
Later we have another idea on how to connect a gastronomic and cultural side, México/ Panama to offer a more complete experience!!
#cascoviejopanama #cascolife #cascolove #cascoviejobusiness #shoppingcascoviejo #cascoviejopty