About Team Mexico
Meet Team Mexico, our newest fair trade artisan partners. In the spring of 2017, Joy moved to Mexico to work with artisans, seeking to create jobs for women in rural areas without access to economic opportunity. We built partnerships with women's cooperatives outside of Taxco, the silver capital of the world.
Our partners in Taxco are masters of metallic jewelry, working in sterling silver, gold, brass, and alpaca silver. The city of Taxco exports tons of silver jewelry to the U.S., but it's almost entirely made by men. This artisan cooperative works with women in the villages outside of Taxco. There are currently 12 women that are a part of this group, primarily single mothers. Some were taught the craft while growing up by their fathers, others were taught by other women in the group. Regardless, the tradition of silversmithing in these small villages goes back generations, and it is the livelihood of most people in the area. Most artisans never learned to read or write, so their options for upward mobilization are limited. Working with this cooperative, the women are able to export their products at fair prices, as well as work from their own homes where they can care for their children. It's difficult work, but these women do it with so much pride!
How We Support Team Mexico
- We commit to long term, reliable trade agreements that allow cooperatives to hire more women and make proactive business decisions. Team Mexico 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 more than 3x the minimum wage in Mexico. We've spent dedicated time with the artisans to ensure they're accounting for all costs and being paid fairly.
- We work closely with the artisan cooperatives on new designs using their traditional skillsets. This allows them to reach new markets and sell more products, ultimately increasing the number of fair trade jobs provided to women. The pieces you'll see from Team Mexico are unlike any you'll find at a Cancun resort!
- We're providing more tools to women who want to learn how to solder metal. This training and access to new tools creates many more possibilities in jewelry creation, as well as new fair trade jobs for women in rural areas.
Check out products from our Mexico Collection here!
Paula lives in Tecapulco, a village outside of Taxco, Mexico. She lives in a well-kept yellow home with bright purple flowers outside. She lives downstairs, and her daughter (and granddaughter!) live upstairs. Their workshop is right next door, where they make beautiful pieces from stone and silver. Paula knows that not many women do the work she does, and she attributes her skills to her father, who taught her silversmithing at a young age. Now, she makes it her goal to teach other women, and make sure that the profitable Mexican silver industry is benefiting women in her town, too. Her granddaughter, Frida, is adorable; running around outside and playing with the dogs and cats-- she can be a distraction from their work, but a welcomed one! Paula's motto: "Everything is possible."
Berta (pictured second from right) lives in Taxco el Viejo, a village outside of Taxco, Mexico. She lives in a two-room cement home with her husband and 3 children. Years ago, her husband made the journey to the US looking for work, hoping to build a better life for his family. Coming to the US illegally, however, is a very, very dangerous journey, and he was badly injured in the process (before making it to the border). Because of this injury, he's now completely paralyzed, unable to work, though he guards the community bathrooms during the days. Berta was hit with a hard reality, that she alone would need to provide for her whole family, and without an education. She learned silversmithing from the artisan cooperative, and now has been working with them for 10 years. "Not many women do the work that we do. We support each other so we can all have a better life." - Berta