CEO, FOUNDER AND DESIGNER
Kristen or “KVZ”-- as she is known to friends -- has created a unique cooperative of skilled Guatemalan tradespeople, and empowers them to use their skills to hand-construct one-of-a-kind accessories exclusively for KVZ Designs. Kristen not only takes inspiration from the Mayan culture, but also her extensive world travels. The designer spends quality in-person time with her beaders and weavers, who are paid a fair-trade wage.
KVZ Designs have been showcased in world-class museum boutiques including the Carnegie Museum of Art, The J. Paul Getty Museum, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Smithsonian Institution and several Peabody Museums.
A portion of KVZ Designs’ proceeds support Pueblo a Pueblo, a non-profit dedicated to the indigenous families of Santiago Atitlán. Kristen has been part of the leadership of this organization since its inception, and currently serves on its Board of Directors. More information: puebloapueblo.org/board-of-directors
Maili Godwin is a professionally-trained and experienced travel and fashion photographer skilled in black & white and color still life, lifestyle editorial and art direction. She currently owns the studio Boris & Company, specializing in unconventional yet timeless portraiture of subjects such as families, newborns, pets and well-known personalities.
Maili has worked with the designer Kristen VanZandt for many years, capturing living images of her designs on location in Guatemala. KVZ Designs looks to Maili to perfect the visual presentation of every necklace, bracelet and earring. She has the unique ability to showcase the beauty and spirit of the jewelry and accessories whether styled on models---or as it is being constructed in action in the studio by the T’zutujil craftspeople.
For more information about Maili and her “curious” and fine photography: borisandcompany
RESOURCE MANAGER, LATIN AMERICA
Israel directs the cooperative of beaders and weavers in Santiago Atitlán. He is integral in design development, production, material procurement and quality control. As a master wire worker and having come of age during the brutal 30-year Guatemalan Civil War, Israel is highly protective of the network of indigenous artisans he helped to construct. He insures that the families are healthy, happy and comfortable with their work load. Israel also painstakingly matches each craftsperson’s specialty -- whether macramé, crochet or beading -- correctly to a jewelry design.
Pete has over a decade of experience leading award-winning creative teams that specialize in conceptual visual communication. His extensive background in art direction, copywriting, video production, and graphic design informs the branding of KVZ. He currently directs the design studio, Black Birch with global clients spanning industries that include luxury goods, consumer tech, and the arts. Additionally, Pete serves on the board of directors for PCB, a professional society for art directors and designers that provides networking and educational events for the Mid-Atlantic region.
For more information about Pete and his agency: black-birch.com and peteburch.com