Many of you have had questions about how our Peruvian guitar straps are made, so we wanted to share a little bit more information about that process.
Here's how it works: we have someone that visits Peru to meet with the artisans many times throughout the year. This person manages all communications with the artisans directly. Some of the groups we work with are non-profit co-ops and some are just families that run an operation like any small business here in the US.
Each strap is made according to fair trade guidelines. This means the artisans earn a living wage, have a safe working environment and are not subject to workplace pollutants or toxins. There is no child labor. Most of the artisans are women who work at home with their children playing nearby.
These straps are making a real impact on all of the people we work with. They are all farmers and have their basic needs met, but this is a cottage industry that allows them to generate some income that they can use to buy things like shoes or tools. This isn't like coffee or cotton, so there's not a long supply chain. We are dealing directly with the people that weave the fabrics and they tell us how much it costs. We never haggle over the price or ask for bulk discounts.
We are committed to sustaining their traditions and livelihoods through artistic collaboration. When we say we offer 10 patterns, but each one is as unique as the artisan that makes it, we mean that each one comes with their own quirks. For instance, the green wool on the Dick Dale varies in shades depending on what is available. There was a drought down there this summer that affected the wool supply. All of them are green and follow the same pattern, but there are subtle differences that make each strap unique. We see that as a benefit.
Find out more on our Peruvian strap pre-sale page.
These are the women that make our patterns from Cusco. They actually work in Patacancha and Kelkanka, which are near Cusco.
This is Vanessa, Ulises' daughter. They live in Lima and sell the goods that their family makes in Cajamarca, which is in the northern highlands.