By Andrea Lillo
Founded on a desire to bring authentic Mexican cookware and accessories to those who want to make this cuisine at home, Hernán debuted its line at the recent tabletop show in New York.
The collection promotes Mexico’s culture and cuisine, said Isela Hernandez, founder and president, as well as “works with artisans not normally exposed outside Mexico.” A derivation of her family name and an homage to her Mexican heritage, Hernán is based on the border in Del Rio, Texas, while sales and marketing are in New York.
Having worked in the fashion industry and then in community development, Hernandez wanted to combine her business background to help Mexican artisans promote their work as well as celebrate her culture, and Hernán was the result.
“There’s a lot of validity in Mexican foods,” she said, and more people are making these types of meals at home. For example, tortilla sales are rising in the United States, she said, and salsa is a leading condiment.
“We target the educated Hispanic consumer who wants to bring a bit of their culture into the home, as well as the non-Hispanic who enjoys Mexican cuisine,” she said.
Geared toward specialty retailers, the line consists of cookware, glassware, Mexican classics such as a tortilla press, ceramics and linens. Everything is made in Mexico and is branded with the Hernán name. The cast iron cookware includes an individual-sized fajita grill and a larger one called Fiesta, and a comal, for tortillas or quesadillas.
Other Mexican classics besides the tortilla press include the Exprimidor, or lime squeezer; the Molinillo, or hot chocolate frother; and the volcanic stone Molcajete for guacamole or salsa. Retail prices are around $14 for the Molinillo and $18 for the Exprimidor, up to $30 for the Fiesta cast iron grill and $55 for the Molcajete. Each item will also have a hang tag that explains how to use the tool, its cultural significance and a recipe from local cooks in Mexico.
Hernandez plans to exhibit at the International Home & Housewares Show in Chicago next March, as well as at other shows.
The line will expand in the future, as Hernandez wants to add such products as food when appropriate. A Mexican brand of chocolate just joined the line, she said, and other items such as artisanal cheese or salsa are possibilities in the future.