Artisan Highlight: Mercado Global

I'm excited to introduce you to our newest artisan group out of Guatemala: 

Guatemalan Artisan Group - Mercado Global

First, we fell in love with their handbags - gorgeous colors & prints, impeccable craftsmanship, & lovely attention to detail. These clutches are even more impressive in person!

 Fair Trade Clutch Purse

Then we fell in love with how & why they are made. I've spent some time in Guatemala & have witnessed the beauty of the country juxtaposed with the poverty first hand. 

This particular method is called brocade weaving & is one of the most highly refined techniques among artisans in Guatemala, often on a backstrap loom among the Mayan population. It produces this lovely, thick weave & allows for intricate details as you can see below.

Black & White Geometric Pattern

Guatemalan Artisans

Mercado Global seeks to break the cycle of poverty among women in rural Guatemala by: 

  1. Creating opportunities for income through access to International Markets
  2. Providing business education & leadership training to women who may have never had a formal education
  3. Increase income which allows artisans to send their children to school, purchase nutritious food, & invest back in their communities. 

About ¾ of indigenous Guatemalans live under the poverty line with about 58% living in extreme poverty ($1.25/day). A majority of children go to bed hungry (66%) every night & there is little opportunity to raise ones self up out of this cycle of poverty. 

Founded in 2004, Mercado Global now works with over 300 artisans throughout Guatemala. Access to food has doubled in the artisan communities since their involvement & nearly 100% of artisans now have access to running water & electricity. Almost half of the women have held a leadership position in their coops & nearly all of the artisan's kids under 14 are now enrolled in school (where the typical education level is less than 2 years). 

Guatemalan Artisan

You can get to know a few of these talented artisans, like Paulina, on the Mercado Global website

Shop the collection here

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