How we do it
What exactly is the production process?
We develop all the designs together; a combo of Scandinavian design and the women’s craft. They make all the ideas come to life! Once the products designs are completed, Anna communicates with the women to place the order and they start producing. They buy and source the beads locally in Santiago where they are. Sometimes the beads come from El Salvador or Ukraine, which is not something we can control, but they buy them in small shops. We pay them upfront for the materials and their salaries and when the products are finished, they get shipped to Denmark.
How do you pay the women?
Practically speaking, we bank wire the money to one of the women who is in charge of distributing them to all the women. In terms of price setting, it is based on what the women want. We pay them per product and we also pay them 3 times the salary they are paid for beadwork in the village. That means they are paid per product but also per hour they spend and that is something that Bernabela (who is she?) is really passionate about.
If you want to know more, you can hear the story from Bernabela herself here (link to hear the story).
What do you mean by “Empowerment”?
Well this is a huge question and you can find the long version of our thoughts on empowerment here (link to our journal. In short for us it means that Pura Utz was based on the grassroot values of empowerment, which means that we want to open markets and be a vessel for the women to create change in their own lives, so it based on the equal relationship that I bring the market and they bring the product and they make their own money and they decide for themselves how they want to reinvest their earnings in their own lives. We don’t come in with ideas about what they need. It’s a mutual and respectful relationship, were we collaborate as equal partners.
Anna traveled in Guatemala when she was a kid and she fell in love with the place! She kept going back again and again to do volunteer work for many years. She volunteered as a teacher, as a nurse and also did her Bachelor thesis on the reproductive health of the Mayan women. That’s what led her wanting to work sustainably on something that generated money in the hands of the women and the reason she started Pura Utz and why she does it in Guatemala.