Journal : What is going on? 🍓
oh so much and also a lot less than usually.
With the world stopping we have of course been affected as well. We are not receiving the usual orders from our retailers because they are all closed down (they usually cover around 50% of the work we are able to provide the team). Furthermore a lot of precautions have been made in Guatemala by the government - all work cancelled, public transportion shut down, people can’t leave their regions and so on. This both affects our production, but also the logistics of getting products from the village to Antigua where we ship out of. For the past year we have been able to provide steady work for up to 65 women, but now we are down to 12 who we consider being fulltime employed and have a steady income.
Personally I am struggling a lot with this. Its hard to down scale like this and know that all these women need this income more than ever. To be extremely honest - it has almost made me feel an intense burn out due to the heavy responsibility of this. For the past five years I have been through ups and downs with this project - it has been like climbing five Everests sometimes with business, fulltime job on the side, studying, personal life and everything you have to learn through trial and error. And I am feeling a bit exhausted now. Bernabela keeps trucking away in Guate trying to divide the work we have between the ones who need it the most (how do you even estimate that) and work around all the limitations of Covid19 to get new samples moving and buying materials in the short time gaps the government allows. Bernabela and Elisa are receiving the women every monday in our office giving them ‘tarea’/homework for the week to do in their houses. It can be a bit difficult because in that way they can only work on the designs they know how to do 100% be themselves. Usually Julia (our head of production) is there by their side to help with corrections and questions. But we are making it work in every way we can. Six of the girls stay during the week with three working on each floor to keep the mandatory distance. Its all a bit challenging and very very different from the happy and colorful flow we were in just a few months ago.
We had many big plans for the following months and I don’t know if we can proceed with any of them for the moment.
Our textile adventure continues
We are have been working on putting together a group of weavers, embroiders and drawing artists for more than a year and a half. This is story I would love to share more in depth with you later on. But everything from sourcing raw material, to weaving samples and finding artist who were willing to embroider with embroidery rings has been quite challenging. But it is slowly coming together. Of course now it is heavily set back by Covid19 because Bernabela is very limited in moving around to visit the women in their homes, overseeing the samples in the proces and buying materials.
But our designs are a long term investment because they are meant to last for many seasons - so we try to take it easy (even though sometimes the impatience and hopelessness in challenges gets the best of us). The investment we make in developing the best quality and relationships is what allow us to develop the array of designs afterwards. It is our experience that what comes first in order for anything to succeed in our artisan adventure, is building lasting relationships and constantly improving the quality of how and what we do.
So how do you accept challenging times yet again? Maybe a spiritual practice of letting go and breathing in? Or upping our business skills to keep afloat. I am not completely sure yet. But I do want to take this time to THANK YOU all SO SO MUCH for all your support in these past two months. If it wasn’t for your love and believe in this, we wouldn’t have been able to keep the team going. Their income does not just support themselves, but their families who in these times find themselves without work and income. So THANK YOU! I know that every time you decide to spend your hard earned money with us, it means you believe and trust us. THANK YOU <3 (I would add all the fruity and lovey emojis here if this website platform allowed me to)
Lots of virtual love,