The artisan is one of our most valued partnerships. This is not charity but rather paying a fair wage for their masterful work while providing the necessary assistance to help make the artisan more successful in the international marketplace.
Indigenous partners directly with organizations to provide training, educational materials, financing and equipment that otherwise could not be afforded. As we continue to grow we will endeavor to connect the company's long-term financial performance to that of the individual artisans.
Most of the artisans in the Indigenous Peruvian hand knit work groups live in the south of Peru in surrounding countryside of Pampa Canahuas Reserve. Prior to hand-knit job opportunities with Indigenous, these artisans were unable to assess their true market value and frequently exchanged their hand-knit products for food. In addition to earning a fair living wage that is far greater what they would earn otherwise, the artisan partnership with Indigenous also provides access to much higher quality organic cotton and natural fiber yarn, knitting needles (often replacing old bicycle spokes), free training on knitting for international quality standards and future opportunity for advancement to become a trainer.
Many of the hand-looming artisan work groups are based in the cities of Arequipa, Lima and Ayaviri. Each hand-looming work group is composed of 4 to 20 people, but could employ as many as 60 people depending on the number of machines in each work group and the timing of production. Conventional textile companies typically allocate only 50% to 60% of production costs to raw material and labor. Indigenous partners allocate over 75% of the production costs to raw material and labor.
When not working for Indigenous, the artisans sell their products to local markets, including producing traditional attire and handicrafts.
We believe our Fair Trade production model is one of the most stable, equitable and profitable foreign trade models in existence. We are confident that for every Indigenous garment purchased more money is going to directly support artisans than any other apparel company on the planet. And while many companies are moving into organic apparel, virtually none adheres to fair labor standards to the extent we do.
FAIR TRADE STANDARDS ARE PART OF INDIGENOUS DNA:
We provide fair wages in the local context
Support safe, healthy, and participatory workplaces
Supply financial and technical support as well as shared community planning to build capacity
Ensure environmental sustainability, (including using: Organic certified cotton, GOTS processing, and Oekotex 100 approved dyes)
Respect and embrace cultural identity, of families and community
Build direct and long-term relationships
Educate and collaborate with partners on sustainability
Use this handy infographic, provided by GOOD and Ben Jerry's, to find out more about what's behind Fair Trade products and how they can impact both producers and consumers.
Truely Fair Trade