Maria is one of our longtime artisan partners from Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala. During these uncertain times, we hope to be able to continue to provide for Maria and her children through our Artisan Relief Fund, so her family can stay healthy and fed.
Here's the story of how Teresa, our founder, met Maria and developed a lifelong relationship...
Eduardo and I met Maria about 8 years ago, when Maria’s husband David, followed Eduardo around begging him to order some jewelry with him. We started ordering their spiral bracelets that were a great hit! A wonderful relationship was formed, and we expanded our work with them.
We named our first collection Trio of Hope because they were always so grateful for the work we were giving them. They now make our Flower collection, our beaded friendship bracelets and headbands.
Several years ago, Maria told my office manager that David had started drinking, abusing her and was seeing another woman. Then both she and the other woman became pregnant at the same time. Maria named her baby Teresita - such an honor. Eventually, David left Maria for the other woman.
We continue to work with Maria today. She is illiterate and her teenage son helps her with reading and writing.
Guatemala is in the beginning phases of dealing with COVID-19. The country is shut down, but our artisans are still able to produce in their homes if they can buy the needed supplies.
Our artisans depend on us, and by providing them with orders, we can create create hope that things will get better. All products on our retail website's Artisans Relief page will be discounted 20% in the month of April and May so we can either provide aid or work for the families who need it most. Maria relies on us to feed her family, and with your help, her worries will lessen.
At Lucia’s Imports, our mission ensures we make a difference in the lives of our artisan partners. We directly purchase from two ceramic workshops in San Antonio Palopó, Guatemala: Mayan KE and Ceramicas Palopó. Ken Edwards, a Mexican potter, founded the first workshop in 1992 in order to give men who were unable to attend school the opportunity of a steady income. Many similar workshops are unable to reach the market because of their remote location, but after attending a trade show in Guatemala, Lucia’s Imports discovered Mayan KE and Ceramicas Palopó, creating a valuable business partnership. Even though the workshops are still remote, by having a partnership with Lucia’s Imports, the artisans can keep up to date with modern trends and demands in the American marketplace.
Since their foundation, the workshops have expanded to employ over 20 artisans, including seven women. After a visit to the workshops a few years ago, Lucia’s Imports wanted to see more women working. Several women were uninterested at first but were eventually hired when they realized the work and pay were steady. Mayan KE and Ceramicas Palopó have consistent orders from Lucia’s Imports which in turn provides steady incomes for employees.
As Lucia’s Imports grows, more job opportunities will be created for locals in San Antonio. Many artisans at the workshops did not have the opportunity of an education because they had to help earn a small income for their families. Now, those artisans’ children will be able to go to school and expand their opportunities in the future without sacrificing their education.
Learn more about our Guatemalan artisans here!
We are a member of the Fair Trade Federation, but what exactly does that mean? As an FTF member, we uphold nine key principles in each purchase that protect artisans and farmers in order to create a more just world.
1. Create Opportunities
We create economic opportunities in Guatemala by partnering with local artisans and farmers. Lucia’s World Emporium focuses on our producers’ needs and interests as a core value of our business model.
2. Develop Transparent & Accountable Relationships
The dialogue about our producers is honest. We are open to discuss any and all aspects of the supply chain from Guatemala to Lexington, Kentucky and beyond. Producers and customers alike have an impact on the trading that occurs at Lucia’s World Emporium.
3. Build Capacity
We love to build long-lasting relationships with artisans and farmers in Guatemala. These relationships are based on independence, respect and trust. Our goal by enhancing long-term relationships is to promote artisan independence through best practices, open communication and community integration.
4. Promote Fair Trade
As a Fair Trade Federation member, it is our duty to educate consumers on their place in the global trade environment. We advocate for our customers to ask questions and learn about fair trade, economic conditions, and how they can help. By encouraging fair trade, we support improving living conditions, education opportunities, and economic strength.
5. Pay Promptly & Fairly
We compensate artisans according to a price they set based on materials, labor, and time of producing their goods. In fact, we exceed Fair Trade Minimum standards which means that our artisans are more independent in determining their fair pay.
6. Support Safe & Empowering Working Conditions
We love empowering our artisans and farmers! This means that we exclusively pursue working conditions that are free of forced labor, discrimination and any type of harassment. No matter where our artisans are located, they are safe at work.
7. Ensure the Rights of Children
Safe and empowering working conditions also include no child exploitation or trafficking. We uphold the United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child regulations to ensure the safety of children.
8. Cultivate Environmental Stewardship
The United Nations definition of sustainability reads “meeting the needs of the current generation without sacrificing the needs of future generations”. Our artisans and farmers consistently repurpose, upcycle and reuse fabric and other materials in their products. Every decision we make has an environmental impact, and we seek to reduce our footprint as much as possible.
9. Respect Cultural Identity
At Lucia’s World Emporium, we praise cultural differences and welcome new cultural products with open arms. We respect and encourage the identity of our artisans and adjust business needs based on cultural events and expectations.
Interested in learning more about fair trade principles and guidelines? Check out the Fair Trade Federation for more resources!