We pride ourselves on providing fair wages to all artisans, based on the average cost of living in Perú and they have all been trained to keep careful track of their hours plus the cost of materials. This enables artisans to provide for themselves and oftentimes, their children and extended families.
At Huaywasi, the ideologies behind fair trade were truly the seeds that rooted our brand and mission, and we cannot wait to continue to watch them grow. We nourish our partnership with Chicago Fair Trade and aim to improve on all fair trade principles to the fullest extent.
We believe that being a fair trade organization means that regardless of whether a product is put into production, artisans should be paid for any amount of time dedicated to Huaywasi. This includes samples and unfinished products due to unforeseen complications on any side, whether it be operation/design teams or artisans.
Artisans are also able to work in the comfort of their own homes, on their own schedule, which allows them to be increasingly more flexible with their personal lives. Products are ordered from artisans on a monthly basis, which also provides greater financial stability and allows Huaywasi artisans to plan their financial futures.
In addition to providing fair wages and safe working environments, we work collaboratively with our artisan partners to make sure that they are involved in all aspects of the brand and our decision making processes. We hold monthly artisan meetings to maintain open communication and total transparency among all team members. These meetings have led to collaborative discussions such as production schedules, wage raises, and future management decisions.
To learn more about how Huaywasi abide by fair trade principles, check out our blog, The Huaywasi Difference.
Daría, an artisan in her 40s originally from the highlands of Peru, has been hand-looming her unique textiles for over 17 years. Through the Huaywasi Artisan Project, she is able to provide income for herself and her two daughters while working from home.
Her eldest daughter, Wendy, currently helps Huaywasi with hand-stitched embroidery, passing down artisan skills generation to generation.
"Me gusta [ser artesana] mucho porque puedo trabajar en casa...y también mis hijas siempre me ayudan con lo que haga. Ademas, el trabajo que hago agrada a la gente que lo compra; estoy muy agradecido a todas esas personas porque puedo seguir haciendo lo que me gusta."
I like [being an artisan] a lot because I can work at home... and also my daughters always help me with what I do. In addition, the work I do pleases the people who buy it; I am very grateful to all those people because I can continue doing what I like.
Nélida, our expert knitter, has had a long history with the craft:
"Aprendí a tejer desde niña me gustaba inventar ropas de muñeca con palitos de espinos. Cuando tenía 12 año, mi abuela me enseñaba a hilar correas, hilar lana de oveja, tejidos como gorros, y otros. Tenía 5 hermanos menor y tenía que ayudar a mi mama. Yo hacía mis trabajo como artesanía para ganar alimento como maíz, etc. [Ahora uso mis talentos]... para ayudar a criar a mis hijos y pagar los gastos de la casa."
I learned to weave when I was a child and I liked to invent doll clothes with sticks. When I was 12 years old my grandmother taught me how to spin belts, wool from sheep, knit hats, and others. I had 5 younger siblings and had to help my mother. I did my work as a craft to earn food like corn, etc. [Now I use my talents]... to help raise my children and pay for household expenses.
In her free time, she enjoys taking a few moments to herself to practice yoga in her home, which she learned by attending yoga workshops with The Light and Leadership Initiative.
Through the Huaywasi Artisan Project, she has learned new knitting skills and enjoys teaching them to her children.
Saida, an artisan that joined the Huaywasi Artisan Project in 2014, is the project's ceramicist. Forming a great relationship with a previous Women's Program Manager, Carina, Saida discovered and built her skills through both LLI painting and ceramic workshops.
Some of her favorite LLI workshops included Financial Education, Painting, and Nutrition. She is proud to help support her children and her husband thanks to Huaywasi.
"Yo empecé [creando cerámicas y adornos] cuando estuvo la señorita Carina gracias a ella y todo los voluntarios tengo este trabajo que me ayuda económicamente en mi hogar...Me siento muy orgulloso del trabajo que hago y que mis productos es vendido en otros países"
I started [creating ceramics and ornaments] when Miss Carina was there. Thanks to her and all the volunteers I have this job that helps me financially in my home. I feel very proud of the work I do and that my products are sold in other countries.
Guillermina, an artisan seamstress, joined the project in 2014.
"Aprendí a coser hace 14 anos. Yo me siento bien trabajando en Huaywasi porque he aprendido hacer cosas nuevas y me siento agradecida porque es una ayuda muy grande para mí y mis hijos."
I learned to sew 14 years ago. I feel good working in Huaywasi because I have learned to do new things and I feel grateful because it is a great help for me and my children.
Through her work with Huaywasi, she has developed her skills as a seamstress to make fashionable clothing using Andean fabrics.
When she has the time, Guillermina likes to make a big Ceviche lunch for her and her family to enjoy.
She uses the income she receives from the Huaywasi Artisan Project to support her two children and her nephew.
Through the Huaywasi Artisan Project, Herminia, an artisan in her 40s, has learned to craft a variety of accessories using authentic Peruvian fabrics. Later, she discovered screen printing, which she utilized to broaden her skillset and product offerings.
She also has a long standing relationship with managers and volunteers from our parent organization, LLI.
"Soy un profesional técnico pero me fui para dedicarme a mis hijas. Afortunadamente encontré esta ONG [LLI] que me dio la oportunidad de ser parte de ella cuando asistí a sus talleres, los cuales fueron muy beneficiosos para mí.
Fueron las voluntarias Adriana, Carina y Jessy quienes me ayudaron a aprender sobre los talleres a los que siempre estaré agradecida. Aprendí sobre los accesorios con Carina y más tarde Joe, Susano y Shelby me ayudaron a entrar en la serigrafía."
I am a technical professional but I left to educate my daughters. Thankfully I found this NGO [LLI] which gave me the opportunity to be part of it when I attended their workshops, which were very beneficial to me.
It was volunteers Adriana, Carina, and Jessy who helped me learn about the workshops to which I will always be grateful. I learned about accessories with Carina and later Joe, Susano and Shelby helped me get into silk-screen printing.
What she loves most about being part of Huaywasi is working from her own home, where she is able to comfortably care for her two daughters and contribute her earnings to her family.
We got the devastating news in March 2021 that Huaywasi's Expert Knitter, Alejandra, had passed away. Our hearts are still heavy here at Huaywasi and we want to continue to express our dearest condolences to her family and friends.
Alejandra first learned to knit in high school and over the years she became a master of her craft, allowing her to earn an additional source of income as she simultaneously managed a local flower shop with her husband. No trip to visit the artisans houses was ever complete without a final stop to greet Alejandra and pick up some beautiful flowers.
She will be missed dearly and on behalf of our entire team, we want to extend our deepest sympathies to her family. Alejandra will forever be in our hearts and we will continue to remember and honor her tremendous impact within our organization.