About Team Guatemala
Meet Team Guatemala, a fair trade cooperative of 33 women living in San Juan. We have been working with Team Guatemala since 2015, making them one of our oldest fair trade partners. Small but powerful, Team Guatemala produces beautiful woven accessories and using natural dyes, handspun thread and traditional weaving techniques. The warm colors and soft textures of the Guatemala Collection remind us of the special connection we have to these women.
Earning a fair trade income through scarf-making is a vital economic opportunity for women in rural Guatemala, as few other jobs for women exist. When weaving, they are able to work from home, caring for their children while providing for their family. They take great pride in their work, as woven textiles are an incredible part of Guatemalan culture. As you wear your fair trade scarf, you’re supporting a compassionate group of Guatemalan women who are eager to share their culture with you. We are proud to share the story behind Team Guatemala’s woven creations with the rest of the world.
How We Support Team Guatemala
We support Team Guatemala by helping them employ more women, earn higher wages and reach new customers.
- We commit to long term, reliable trade agreements that allow cooperatives to hire more women and make proactive business decisions. Team Guatemala can count on us to place continuous orders at consistent prices, and that trust results in more jobs and more job security for women.
- We recognize the difference between living wage and minimum wage, and we pay our artisans a fair, livable wage in Guatemala. Guatemala's livable wage is considered 2110 quetzales monthly ($287 USD), whereas artisans working in this cooperative make upwards of 4120 quetzales monthly ($562 USD).
Product Spotlight: Scarves
Team Guatemala uses a weaving technique that they were taught by their grandmothers, preserving a rich tradition of woven textiles from the highlands of Guatemala.
- They first collect the cotton, clean it from any seeds or dirt, and pull the cotton by-hand into a sturdy thread.
- They then collect their dye materials: indigo plant to make navy, vibrant flowers to make a bright purple, a root to make the deep orange color.
- All thread is completely made and dyed by hand, using a special process to make sure the color will never fade.
- From there, the women plan their design, wrapping the threads of different colors around a wooden tool called a paleta.
- Then, they weave the scarf together, using a process of crossing, shuttle-passing, and tightening. From start to finish, one scarf takes one woman about a week to create.