Las Munecas Project Barra De Potosi

A story about the empowerment of the women of Barra de Potosi

(Read entire article with pictures in Imagine Magazine)

Barra De Potosi is a small unique puebla 30 minutes south of Zihuatanejo.  A colectiva of women has created a thriving artist cooperative.

Araceli (called Chely) the Entrepreneur
Chely Oregon is a force to be reckoned with. She once served as the comensaria of Barra de Potosi. She earned her degree in licenciatura de turismo, learned English and took a bird identification course. I have great admiration for her English as my effort to learn Spanish has been the academic challenge of my life!

Chely has developed a dawn birding tour of the Potosi mangrove lagoon – Paradise Bird Tours. I recently saw 37 different species of birds as we poled silently through the lagoon. Chely recorded the birds we saw and presented it to me on one of her cards as we exited the lancha motor boat. 400 pesos per person. Chely also offers kayak bird tours of the lagoon for 500 pesos.

Chely shares, “Birds are the love of my life. Eight years ago when it was my first encounter with the pink spoonbills completely changed my way of seeing life. They taught me to love every piece of my beautiful paradise”.

Las Locas Munecas de Barra    Espátulas Rosatas Colectiva
It all began several years ago when Barbara Erikson started a woman’s cooperative in partnership with the Araceli Oregon family. As all things do, the project evolved when in 2014, clothing designer Lori ONeill brought the idea of creating rag dolls that were colorful and crazy.  It was important that all of the materials needed could be sourced here and much of them were sewn by hand.  This year they added the craziest of dogs.

As all the women collectively trade their ideas on both the Mexican and western aesthetic,  the Las Locas Muñecas project continues to grow,  I suggested custom dolls and dogs. See a doll who looks like me named Barbarina. 1000 pesos for a custom doll or dog.  Send two pictures to Chely –  or  Lori O’Neil at

See everything in Barra de Potosi   La tienda de arte, which displays the crazy dolls and dogs, is right across from Chely’s mom’s restaurant, Enramada Rosita, Chely also creates charming birds from the lagoon out of coconuts. Rumor has it that cooking lessons may be coming! Go to the end of the Potosi road and follow the curve to the left.  You will see the pink building.  You can also buy the regular dolls and dogs for 500 pesos at Embarcadero and Loot in Zihua.

Chely shares : “The dolls have become a big part of our lives. They fill us with joy, magic and complicity among the people who are part of our community and our life”

How does the Colectiva Work and How Can You Help?
Chely is the informal jefa (boss).  All decisions are made by all the members of the colectiva, which also includes Areli Oregon, Esminda Salas, Maria Antonia, Liliana Oregon, Rubicela Oregon and Lori O’Neill. I would encourage anyone who is looking for an opportunity to share their good fortune to gather up all their beads, ribbons and colorful fabrics to share with them. Post this amazing success story on your social networking sites. Point to this article. Become a supporter in the life of a local entrepreneur you know!

Anyone reading this article with connections in the Environmental Protection circles?  Chely’s dream is to have the Barra lagoon named a National Protection area. Contact her with your ideas.