Artisan Profile: Kamibashi

Unraveling the story of Kamibashi is as much fun as learning about their collection of whimsical String Dolls.  The journey began when founders, Kristen Doherty Daniels and Chris Daniels, went abroad to teach English in Japan. When they left their hometown of Chicago to work in the city of Kyoto, they never imagined that their…

Artisan Profile: Francisco Jimon

The mountainous village of Sacualpa in the Quiche region of Guatemala is off the beaten tourist path, and artisans there have fewer opportunities to sell their goods. Francisco Jimon leads a group of five people who make machine embroidered textiles using locally made backstrap loomed fabric. The group is made up of Francisco, his brother,…

Guest Blogger Amy Kay’s Trip to Guatemala

I’m something of an impostor… a fraud, in fact.  Although I’m posing as a business person and own a Fair Trade store, I’m really just a minister. After serving the church for 11 years, I began following my husband’s career four years ago and the result has been a lot of substitute preaching, serving part-time…

Introduction to The Modern Maya

Once one of the most powerful civilizations in Central America, the Maya people remain an integral part of Guatemala. The rise of the Maya civilization began thousands of years ago and spread across what it now southern Mexico all the way to modern-day Honduras. The Maya civilization lasted longer than any other Mesoamerican culture that…

Reducing Impact, Recycling Inspiration

In today’s struggle to preserve the earth for future generations, the inclusion of people in developing countries is more important than ever. Not only are those in developing countries more at risk for health problems caused by environmental factors, without their participation in taking measures to combat environmental problems, there is little chance of seeing…

Tres Estrellas: A Story of Transformation

One of the most beautiful things about fair trade is the way it transforms things. It transforms people who are oppressed into people who have opportunities. It transforms beggars into businessmen. It transforms kids on the street into kids in the classroom. And sometimes, with a little creativity, it turns trash into treasure.

Las Mujeres De Panabaj: Working Together to Rebuild

For indigenous women in the villages on the banks of beautiful Lake Atitlan, life is not always as picturesque as their placid surroundings. Although many of the villages in the Lake Atitlan region are renowned for their form of handicrafts, or artesania, earning a sustainable, living wage through sales of these handicrafts — no matter…

Guatemala’s Beautiful Lake Atitlan – Part II

Picturesque volcanic Lake Atitlan is home to many Unique Batik artisans. This mountainous region is rich with Mayan cultural traditions and handicrafts and has more to offer visitors than just its promise of beautiful vistas and eternally spring-like weather. The small villages that surround this huge body of water, formed in a caldera millions of…

Guatemala’s Beautiful Lake Atitlan, Part I

Last week, we introduced artisan Diego Ravenal, who started his jewelry business selling his wares at a booth catering to tourists. Tourism is Guatemala’s third largest source of income, with its main attractions being archeological sites of Mayan culture, the colonial city of Antigua, and beautiful Lake Atitlan, where Diego and his family live and…

Artisan Spotlight: Diego Ravinal

Everything old is new again, right? At its best, fashion takes classics that have been around for ages, and spins them into something new right before our eyes. Oscar de la Renta, Rachel Roy, Nicole Miller, and several other designers showed pearls for Spring 2014, but these weren’t your granny’s pearls. While pearls have an…