Artsol is located in El Alto, a suburban town outside of La Paz. Simon, the founder, started Atrsol in 2008 with the aim of consolidating a social enterprise that is economically viable as well as socially and ecologically sustainable. Artsol is a family artisan business that encourages and promotes textiles with Bolivian identity, with the mission of improving the living conditions of Bolivian artisans. Simon works with his brothers and sisters, their families, and now other artisan families. The company currently works with 15 families and 50% of its members are women.
A proud member of the Word Fair Trade Organization, Artsol’s main production is alpaca clothing. They are currently exporting their goods to the European market and to the US with us.
Unique was born with the idea of empowering indigenous women. Many of these women could not work outside of the home while taking care of their children.. Unique gave these women, who previously took knitting courses at their local schools, an opportunity to fulfill their maternal duties while earning an income.
Collaboration between a designer and the knitters resulted in chic new designs and exposed the garments to a broader market.
Using alpaca, llama, baby alpaca, and baby alpaca wool mixed with natural silk, the knitters work with what the market has to offer. All of these materials are thermal-regulators, breathable, and highly durable. Wools made with camelids from the high altitude Bolivian Andes have a long sustainability chain. Starting with the shepherds and their communities, the wool resellers, designers, and knitters, all the way to the stores in which these goods are sold, Unique is economically sustainable every step of the way.
"Unique will continue to offer the highest-quality artisanal products by carefully selecting the best materials and handmade garments. We strive to change the world and protect our planet by supporting local artisans instead of fast fashion. We hope you share our thoughts".
Sutisana was founded in 2010 as a freedom business, which exists to fight human trafficking (or commercial exploitation). By providing dignified employment in a just and thriving business, SutiSana offers a new and abundant life for women leaving behind sex work in Bolivia.
Most SutiSana artisans speak both Spanish and the indigenous language of Aymara. In Aymara, “Suti” means name. In Spanish “Sana” means healed. As a woman leaves sex work, she often adopts a new name as part of her healed identity. When a woman joins SutiSana, she receives many benefits, including health insurance and a retirement plan. She and her children are supported through community, and she is given opportunities to continually grow – learning to design bags, working with new materials, and even coaching other women leaving the sex work industry.
The Chiman Project
Conceived after visiting Chiman indigenous communities living in the Amazon region of Bolivia, Chiman bags are a new addition to our growing portfolio.
Led by Yanawara, this project aims to :
- Provide sustainable economic opportunities for women living in these communities.
- Preserve the skills, know-how, and passion they have to weave unique products from natural fibers using an ancient technique, passed down from generation to generation.
"This project is born from respect and admiration for the chiman women, who built their roofs, hand fans, and bags themselves for generations using this beautiful, yet resistant plant and weaving technique. It is born from the sisterhood, the essence of a job done by women for women".
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Clotilde Olimpia Calle Escobar is one of the artisans who honors us with her life in the Yanawara family. Clotilde is 59 years old, born in Potosí - Bolivia (Quechua). She has lived in La Paz city since she was 7. Daughter of a bricklayer and a cholita. She is the middle daughter of six siblings. Currently married and mother of three daughters who are her reason for living, Andrea the eldest, Claudia who is a nurse and Carla a psychology student; and grandmother of Aylin and Sebastian.
Clotilde shares with us her motivation to have her business in Linares street in La Paz. “When I got married it was like reaching heaven then I got separated. I had nothing and I just focused on work to get ahead and take care of my wawitas. I looked for work as an artisan vendor and a lady behaved very well with me but I had to leave my girls alone to be able to work. I have worked for 6 years as an artisan vendor until one day I decided to have my own artisan shop. If you are not an artisan, you learn.” Clotilde shares with us her faith, that made her dreams and goals come true. “I asked for a house for my daughters, and a store to support them”. In the midst of her situation, She was filled with strength, commitment and perseverance, and despite the debts and daily problems, one day everything was possible. She opened her store and nowadays she makes beautiful handmade goods like aguayo mobiles, embroidery (from the Andean Tumi culture). Andean textiles based on natural fibers and sewing in general. She currently works with around 50 artisans from the city of Alto, mostly women of all ages who make textiles, looms and alpaca wool products. "They are women who suffer discrimination and mistreatment in their own homes ... they have suffered so much violence”. For Clotilde, crafts are a way of expressing her culture, her identity, but also a way of reaching out to her sisters, as one day they extended it to her, and from that she was able to live her goals and dreams.
Allpaqa is an artisan family business dedicated to the hand-weaving of decorative Andean-Nordic blankets made of natural Bolivian alpaca fiber.
Allpaq'a seeks to revalue the taste for what is ours, since we are one of the largest producing countries in the world and alpaca fiber is one of the most appreciated for its qualities of thermicity, hypoallergenicity and durability, as well as being totally friendly with the environment and these little animals.
Ana Alicia Laime is an artist, leader, and business entrepreneur. Founder of Iskawayantex, a cooperative artisan business formed by women artisand in the rural areas of the highlands in Bolivia. We are proud to carry their beautiful Andean embroidery products that tell stories from the everyday life.
Maria is the magic behind our fluffy furry alpacas! She is a women leader, actually owns her own artisan business and works with multiple women artisans, together they made handmade goods that express the Bolivian Andean traditions and material.
Folk de los Pueblos is an independent Bolivian design brand that creates unique products inspired by exploration of Bolivian history, traditions, and celebrations. Each collection seeks to convey a world inspired by ‘cuetillo’ aesthetics. Cuetillos, or firecrackers, accompany celebrations and serve to scare away evil spirits. Folk de los Pueblos prides themselves on providing job opportunities to women artisans in a safe, fair, and friendly environment.
Zef Upcycling was born in september 2013 as a small second-hand clothing redesign venture.
Zef aims to be a conscious fashion alternative to the fast fashion industry, the second most polluting industry in the world. Currently, Zef´s workshop employs women artisans for the elaboration of unique upcycled pieces, made from textiles and typical Bolivian materials.
Ayawasqa aims to keep culture alive by creating high-quality accessories featuring ethically sourced handmade Bolivian textiles. Squarely centered in the history and identity of the Andes and its cultural heritage, every piece Ayawasqa produces is a celebration of culture. Their mission is to support employment for their artisan partners, located in villages in Potosí, Tarija, Santa Cruz, El Alto, and La Paz. They are committed to ethical trade and environmental sustainability principles. Ayawasqa is also devoted to social sustainability with a goal of having a positive impact on the lives of artisans who work with the brand. They are committed to providing their artisans with a source of income, continuing education, and guidance to succeed and hopefully help lead their communities out of poverty. Amancaya, Creative Director and founder, travels around Bolivia to personally source materials from local communities and create work agreements with the artisans.
Nanay was founded by Patricia 17 years ago with the aim of providing new markets and better job opportunities to the artisan sector in Bolivia. They care about having a positive impact on the world and make products with love and respect for the knitters who produce the garments, the little ones who wear them, and the nature around them.
Nanay is an ethical Fair Trade-certified company that works with 600 native knitters of which over 90% are women and the sole breadwinners for their families.
Lana is inspired by conscious apparel consumption and works directly with Bolivian artisans organized by families and groups, of which most are women. The brand is led by founders Ximena Herrera and Andrea Torrico, who aim to create better opportunities for women and more employment in the artisan sector.
Lana products are handmade with 100% pure alpaca wool and dyed organically. Their mission is to showcase Bolivian talent by offering products of an amazing quality.
We also are proud to work with Wanderlust, that is part of Lana’s group, for the production of our cotton bags. Wanderlust aims to raise awareness about the care of the environment by replacing the plastic bag. Made with 100% organic Bolivian cotton and made by Bolivian single mothers. The ink is eco-friendly, which means harmful impact is reduced. The name means “Passion for move, for walk” in German and what better way to do it than with a tote bag made of a noble materia, that allows one to carry the most essential belongings.
Gianella Bianchi Alpaca Design is a family business born in 2008 as a result of the Aquino University social project to promote artisan skills for a fair price.
Gianella works on elegant alpaca wool garments with macrame (a 100% handmade traditional weaving technique used by traditional women in the highlands in Bolivia), with the aim to promote the qualities of the alpaca wool in high-end artisanal production, in new markets. The alpaca wool it’s an ancient fabric worn by the Incas and transcended to time and borders currently being recognized worldwide for its delicaty, shine, softners and durability.