In 1994 Mercedes Salazar moves from Colombia to Mexico City, where she studies jewelry and goldsmithery at the Artisan School of “INBA.” While in Mexico, she complements her studies with professional training in metal sculpting and enameling. When she returns to Colombia in 2001, she establishes “Mercedes Salazar Joyería” in association with her husband, Diego Martinez. The company launches an exploratory line of contemporary jewelry made of recovered materials such as buttons, leather, metals nuts and bolts.
In 2005, Mercedes Salazar Joyería opens the first of many stores in Bogotá, Colombia, followed by the first export order to the U.S., and her participation in the Accessorie Circuit (NYC) and Bijorhca (París).
With a long term vision, in 2007 Mercedes Salazar starts building the first alliances with artisans and indigenous communities from Colombia. Ancestral techniques from across the country are infused into the manufacturing process: The crochet technique from the Wayyú community of la Guajira, the straw weaving from the Zenú artisans from Córdoba, the iraca palm weaving from the artisans of Nariño, the weaving traditionS of the Kamentsa indigenous community from Putumayo, the werregue palm weaving of the Wounaan Nonam community from Chocó and the weaving of the Guambian women from Silvia, Cauca.
Later in 2009, hand blown glass and acrylics with encapsulated textiles and liquids are introduced into the manufacturing process. In 2010, the presence of the brand in the U.S. widens through luxury retailers. The same year, across Bogotá, Medellín and Cartagena, five different Mercedes Salazar stores open to the public.
During 2014, as part of the long term commitment with artisans and handcrafters, Mercedes Salazar becomes a member of the Aspen Institute Alliance of Artisan Enterprise. One year later, with the aim of improving the life quality of prisoners and to liberate them mentally from the state of reclusion, “Proyecto Peligro” is launched inside the prisons of El Buen Pastor and La Picota, in Bogotá, Colombia. Prisoners are trained to intervene with artisanal techniques signaling tape printed with the word “danger”. Months later, Mercedes is invited to share her learnings of “Proyecto Peligro” at TEDxBogotá.
Nowadays, Mercedes Salazar is a global brand with a wide product portfolio, offering contemporary jewelry and fashion accessories, handmade by master artisans in Colombia. The company is currently present in more than 300 distributors in 26 markets across the Americas, Europe, UK and Asia, and distributes worldwide through www.mercedessalazar.com