Meet the Members of Our Fair Trade Company

Christine Kwon

Finance Director

A hobby-loving dog owner (Hi, Reggie!), Christine has tried it all - embroidery, woodworking, accordion, you name it. While her practical side makes numbers a breeze, she says she has an irrational love for zippers that lead to unusable pockets and watches that don’t tell time.

Nina Brito

National Sales Director

Domestic jungle dweller and eclectic, depends-on-the-day dresser Nina is creative at her core. She craves craft projects and traveling, but her current loves are the 75 houseplants in her 1200sf house. She’s driven to share with the world a company with a story and products with a purpose.

Katie Gavenda

Digital Brand Manager

With a colorful style and a passion for screen printing and letterpress, Katie wasted no time jazzing up her corner of the office. Originally from the east coast, she loves sand and saltwater, but spending any amount of time outside is what really keeps her happiness levels up. Comfort is key, and she’s rarely found without her office slippers (and during those chilly Chicago winters, even a blanket).

Kayla Placencio

Sales and Customer Service Specialist

A creative brain with a cultural soul, Kayla is trying it all. Her southwestern roots have given her a zest for life and a passion for process. She’s done screen printing, woodcuts, film, embroidery, and outsider/intuitive art, and her most interesting secret goal? Starting a all-female Rolling Stones cover band.

April Serrano

Sales Manager

Every day, April brings a zest for life and an attitude of enthusiasm to the office – she’s a real mood booster. Her love of quality products with a purpose won’t come as a surprise, but the facts that she lived in South Korea for six years, or is an avid cosplayer, might be a bit unexpected!

Meredith Miller

Lead Creative Designer

With a style described as “minimalism meets maximalism,” and a love of places with the right mix of city AND nature, Meredith is a perfect person to be involved in the multi-faceted nature of production. She also sees the value in sharing stories of the artisans who make Mata and encouraging others to be conscious consumers!

Tasha Vos

Fulfillment Manager

A pottery maker and teacher herself, Tasha is passionate about supporting artisans across the globe. When she’s not spending time in great outdoor-loving areas like the Pacific Coast, the U.P., and the Rocky Mountains, she’s biking around the city in search of some great thrifted “diamonds in the rough.”

Delaney Hart

Sales Assistant

Whether she’s enjoying being in nature, or relaxing with a good book (or five!), Delaney knows how to appreciate the simple moments and bring a sense of calm to busy days. She’s also a talented musician who attributes practicing music as another form of meditation in her life. Both in her personal style and at Mata Traders, Delaney loves fashion that carries a story with it as it provides an opportunity to stay connected to her values, creative side, and shared experience of the world.

Sasha Savage

Design and Production Coordinator

Sasha’s love of collecting artisan crafts has inspired her to work in the ethical fashion and fair trade world. She values the importance of preserving tradition and honoring those who make such beautiful works of art in her own collection, as well as the seasonal collections produced by Mata Traders. This celebration of culture and individuality is reflected in her passion for travel (she lived in Spain for 3 years, and Vietnam for 2 years!), as well as her carefree, comfortable personal style.

Sara Wright

Brand Coordinator

A bit of a maximalist when it comes to art and handmade goods, Sara is driven by color, pattern, and a zest for uniqueness. This philosophy informs her personal aesthetic, but is right at home at Mata Traders as well! As a maker herself, she appreciates the time and care that goes into production and values brands that encourage a mindful relationship between their products and who creates them. When she’s not watering her plants or enjoying live music, you can find her drawing or taking photos.

Nicole Stemler

Finance & Operations Specialist

A life-long learner, Nicole knows as much about numbers as she does decadent baked goods - she left the accounting world to study and become a pastry chef before she became a mom! She wants women globally to feel as empowered in their career choices, and is passionate about supporting fair trade operations. Paris might be her favorite city, but she’s no stranger to the great outdoors away from the urban bustle, and this respect for the environment informs her appreciation for natural materials in her own personal style.

Annie Rigali

Technical Designer

As someone who loves cooking, listening to music, watching reality tv, and sewing, it's no surprise Annie's favorite place to spend time is where she can do it all - her northside apartment! When she's not enjoying the comforts of a joy-filled home, she can be found spending time with friends and family, out on walks, or exploring Chicago's restaurant scene. As an avid thrifter pursuing a creative life of art and fashion, Annie appreciates a mindful approach to sustainable shopping, as well as the fun of reworking existing pieces. Values that both inform her personal style and make her right at home as a part of Mata's design team.

Maureen Dunn Fetscher

Managing Partner + Founder

You’d never guess that the founder of Mata studied filmmaking in college (fun fact: she made a documentary about people who freeze-dry their pets posthumously). Maureen displayed a knack for business since her very first lemonade stand, where she mastered the upsell with $.50 twizzler straws. A fascination with the way people, cultures, and religions work kept her seeing adventure around the world, but these days she loves nothing more than an afternoon at the park with her husband and young son.

Jonit Bookheim

Founding Partner

While “don't be afraid to try something new” would be a good slogan for her, the simplest way to describe Jonit is to say: she has goals. Whether it’s to maintain a thriving houseplant population, get to know each and every Mata Traders artisan (there are several hundred), or to master the international game of billiards, Jonit will do it. Her hobbies include travel, kittens, and social justice.

Michelle King Thomas

Founding Partner

Sit her down to people watch on a bench in Turkey, read in the grass in the countryside, or dance on Midwestern farmland, and Michelle is a happy lady (with eye-catching style). She thrives on building relationships and making others happy, especially combining the two and connecting a new customer to Mata. Check in with her in twenty years, though, and you might find her halfway across the continent in a camper van.

Our team extends beyond the walls of our Chicago warehouse all the way to India and Nepal,where over 1,000 talented artisans bring our designs from concept to collection.
You can learn more about who they are on our blog.