Having a bucket list is extremely common, but how can we catapult ourselves into searching for vitality both around us and within us? As Vinicius Vieira de Vieira so effortlessly explained to me, that connection blossoms only when we prepare the space for ourselves to do so. He does this by smudging the air that surrounds him, also known as burning incense, but more importantly he cleanses his body with a shower and begins to meditate. The hum of the Tibetan singing bowl that sits by his side radiates throughout his being. This for Vin is clarity, this is peace, this is understanding of both self and the world that surrounds him.
Vin is from Sāo Palo, Brazil and has been living in Greenpoint, Brooklyn since 2008. Today he and his Incausa team, based in Brazil, Peru, and Nepal, have created a social business experiment that enables purposeful commerce of indigenous artisanship and heritage. Their multi-national grassroots organization, which sells products wholesale to a variety of vendors, aims to celebrate the people who have an artisanship within their community that is worthy of being shared with the world. The organization then makes these crafts accessible to customers like you and the cycle organically continues on. But before Vin created this space for artisans, he had to embark on a journey of his own. This included spending time with family, hitchhiking throughout Europe and beyond, and sharing his intentions with strangers who he notes are among his best friends to date.
Vin prepared for this by selling everything he owned, leaving himself with only a backpack filled with the essentials. “I wanted to account for everything I had,” he said poetically. He met his family in Chamonix, at the foothills of Mont Blanc, and when it was time for his family to head home he began his journey with self.
“When you leave everything for a long journey, you have to settle rent, bills, work, and money. Everything aligned like a window, so in truthfulness I was not in control. My father is Brazilian, but of French decent, so visiting this idyllic little town seemed like the perfect place to start my journey and connect with where I came from,” he told me. “When you give in to the will of the universe there is a magic moment that happens, that you never expect. The universe takes care of you—it’s like a leap of faith—when my parents left I put on my backpack and started walking. People will pick you up! It’s so beautiful. You will tell them what you’re trying to do and they will offer you food, a place to stay, and the vibrational resonance that you get from the people, on that level, is divine.”
After hitchhiking 11,000 miles, climbing Le Brévant twice, and making cosmic connections in Norway, Vin returned to New York. Occupy Wall Street was happening and he volunteered in a soup kitchen, “but that was not the solution,” he explained. His solution to better himself and the world around him was to create Incausa, allowing for indigenous social entrepreneurship. Vin established a system where indigenous peoples who produce baskets, mats, jewelry, Tibetan singing bowls, monk oil, bow-and-arrows, and more, are given an opportunity to trade these things for items their villages desire. These artisanal crafts are then shipped to Vin, in NY, where he sells them wholesale to vendors throughout Europe and the U.S., such as the popular ABC Carpet & Home in Manhattan. Vin himself makes no profit off active trades with the indigenous people—the money gained is sent directly back to the tribes for additional items to be purchased and more crafts to be traded.
Incausa’s main source of revenue is from their incense production, which comes from two different manufactures in Brazil that he works closely with in design. The incense is non-toxic and made from hand-harvested Breau resin, Palo Santo, Sage, Charcrona, and Jagube incense. Incausa is also a partner of Raiz das Imagens, a non-profit organization that teaches the indigenous people how to use cinema to promote their own content and to track illegal loggers on their property.
As Vin perpetually smudges the air with incense, he continuously makes space for the betterment of self and society. To uplift indigenous heritage, create sustainable opportunities, and further your journey with self, be sure to check out Incausa for Poppy & Seed. This page has been created exclusively for Poppy & Seed readers, and offers a gift price to readers, so that cleansing rituals can be accessible to all.