Quipus (or khipus) are a system of knots, links, and ties, that were used to store information since before the Inca times. As an organisation, we want to serve a similar purpose. We want ancient textile and art techniques to be kept alive through their promotion and inclusion in design, all the while putting our collaborators are the forefront, with the respect that they deserve as master-craftsmen and women. This we do through ensuring fair working conditions, responsible sourcing of prime materials, and being transparent with our supply chain by representing our collaborators and artisans as much as we can.
-We ensure fair working conditions through different ways.
One of our biggest suppliers is Solalpaca, the legacy of the pioneer Peruvian Alpaca company, Michel. Michel, and all its corresponding brands, are produced in Arequipa, where anyone can visit during most days of the week to see the magic happen. Michel also has special programs that ensure work for back-strap loom weavers in Arequipa, thus also contributing to the conservation of this ancient art. Moreover, the company also hosts textile art contests, thus also promoting and empowering artisans to always push themselves to higher levels of excellence. The Michel factory in Arequipa is also the first alpaca producing factory to be certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). This certification not only certifies that the fibers are organic, it also certifies that the company’s production is ethical and fair for workers.
Our supplier of organic cotton, Bergman Rivera, was the first cotton production company in Peru to be certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard. Similarly, this certification not only certifies that the fibers are organic, it also certifies that the company’s production is ethical and fair for workers. Bergman Rivera does not sow our organic cotton clothing though, that is done by much smaller producers Cesar Ordoñez and Nancy in La Victoria.
We ensure fair working standards with Cesar and Nancy by paying them double the minimum wage rate for the contract work that they do for us.
In the case of the Textile Center Lluvia, we engage in fair working standards by paying the artisans of the Center, and all contributors, according to the amount of time they have spent producing a specific item, which they indicate. We do not bargain with artisans. Ever.
At the Textile Center, located in Chinchero, Cusco, the artisans have access to clean water, work in an open space, and take breaks whenever they want or need. We know this because we habitually visit and stay with them, during which time we develop new products and drink loads of Mama Grande’s chicha. You can follow our Cusco team shenanigans of instagram as well.
Last but not least, is Jessica Soria and her daughters, our newest collaborators from Ucayali, in the Amazon. Our CEO, Alena randomly met Jessica at an artisanal fair in Lima, where she was walking with a plain bag, the first sample of our new tote bag collection. Once she ran into Jessica, they got to talking, where Alena found out she was part of the Shipibo-Conibo people. During said exchange, Alena noticed that there was a small piece of embroidered cloth next to her bag. Even though Alena was familiar with Shipibo-Conibo cloths, she had never seen one so small. Together, Jessica and Alena started putting them on the bag, matching several of them, and imagining how they would look stitched. Alena bought the cloths at the price Jessica asked, and the week after, we produced our first batch of unique tote bags.