Francesca Kennedy Preserves Her Mayan Heritage in ‘Ix’ Style

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Francesca Kennedy always knew that she wanted to do something to help Guatemala. Born in Pennsylvania to Guatemalan parents, she traveled to Guatemala every year to visit her grandparents at Lake Atitlan. She noted the disparity between the way she grew up in Pennsylvania and what she saw when she visited family in Guatemala. She knew she was fortunate and that was not the case for many children around the world.

Latinidad to me means a deep sense of community, a warm hug and kiss on the cheek when you enter and leave every room, and a sweet “¡Que le vaya bien!,” and “¡Que Dios le bendiga!” when you say farewell. It’s a bond that can only be felt and not explained!

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Francesca had the idea for Ix Style when she was a 29 year old woman. In 2009, Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, which once was a considered the 8th wonder of the world, almost became toxic. Blue green algae covered almost every inch of the lake. NASA called it one of the worst natural disasters to occur in our lifetime, as one could see the contamination from space. This lake was where Francesca was baptized when she was 3 months old, it was where she learned how to swim, and it is where her grandparents live. When she saw it with her own eyes, “it was worse than words could describe.”   On top of the destruction, the markets were empty as tourists had stopped coming. Francesca spoke with an artisan there named Maria who said she had barely sold any products that month and if it continued she did not know how she was going to feed her children. Francesca noticed the woman was selling beautiful huarache sandals and saw the potential to help create a global market for her products.

       I am motivated to be a brand ambassador to my home country of Guatemala – to showcase the beauty, Mayan craftsmanship, traditions to the world and to show them the kindness of the people and rich culture of my country!

Ix Style (pronounced “eye ex”) started as a simple idea to help one woman and morphed into working with over 600 women around Lake Atitlan. Ix is a for-profit charitable fashion company that sells huarache sandals, handbags and jewelry made in Guatemala. Ix is the Mayan word for water. For every purchase, Francesca donates to provide clean drinking water to children in Guatemala. “Profits with purpose means a triple bottom line: social, environmental and financial.”

The fact that through Project American Dreams we might have the opportunity to showcase Ix Style’s products and share our water mission to 94 million homes would be an incredible dream come true! It would be a game changer for us to help create more jobs for the Mayan artisans that make our beautiful products and provide communities with clean water with every purchase! Also, meeting Mindy Grossman is a dream come true! You can only be what you see. I love seeing women run the show— literally in her case— and in executive positions!

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