One of the most common questions I get is how I find artisan groups to work with. Here's why that's a hard question to answer - each experience is so different! With the new Pom Clutch that's just launching today, I had the pleasure of meeting Melissa Moriarty, owner of Azulina, when I was on the Social Entrepreneurship panel for the City of Austin last week.
We had coffee yesterday & now we have just 10 of these gorgeous Clutches in the shop - just in time for Christmas! I'm going to turn the blog over to Melissa to tell you about how these beauties are made:
We are thrilled to partner with Jen and her team at Purse & Clutch to offer our new line of handmade Wayuu (pronounced why-you) purses, more specifically, the brand new Pom Clutch!
The Wayuu Clutch is crocheted by the indigenous Wayuu women artisans of Northern Colombia. Over a period of several days they create a large circle, the plato (plate), which is what makes up the bottom of their traditional cross-body bags called mochilas.
To put a spin on the mochilas, instead of turning the plato into a bucket bag, I designed a clutch. In collaboration with a seamstress in Bogotá we added a nice liner, zipper and colorful closure, and turned it into what is now the Pom Clutch. It's the perfect size for a night out: keys, phone, money and lipstick.
How It All Started
The Wayuu women of Northern Colombia form part of an indigenous community of around 250,000.
I first visited the region where the bags are made about two years ago. That was when I saw the Wayuu women making the bags with a teeny tiny crochet needle - a painstakingly delicate and focused task.
Most of the Wayuu reside in huts with dirt floors and sleep in hammocks their entire lives (even the babies!). It's a matriarchal culture, and as such the women lead the communities and provide the primary source of income through the sale of these bags.
In an effort to help connect the work of the Wayuu artisans with buyers here at home in the US I started our new line of Wayuu purses.
Through our artisan partnership we are supporting a group of 30 Wayuu women, all of whom are mothers and primary caregivers. The proceeds made from our partnership will help provide them and their families with a constant source of income, well above what they can make by just selling their wares at the nearest marketplace.
I'd like to give a big thanks to you, the conscientious gals who seek out Fair Trade items and also for socially conscious companies like Purse & Clutch for helping us provide a living wage and better quality of life for our artisans.
These clutches are part of a limited availability line & once we're sold out, they will no longer be available! Shop here.