Meet Our Makers—Peru
Peru is known for their colorful textiles, historical ruins, and rich culture for its 32 million residents. It’s home to the Nasca Lines, Machu Picchu, an ancient Incan city high in the Andes Mountains, portions of the Amazon Rainforest, and Cusco, a region abundant with archaeological sites. In addition to Spanish, Quechua and Aymara are official languages in Peru along with 13 additional languages spoken in remote regions.
You’ll find over 3000 varieties of potatoes plus other local favorites like camu camu fruit grown in the rainforest (that has more vitamin c than any other food!) You might even hear the phrase Soy mas Peruano que la papa (I am more Peruvian than the potato) as you enjoy their national drink, a Pisco Sour made from lemons, sugar water, egg whites, ice, and bitters.
Our first Peruvian partnership began in 2017, we’ve grown to now partner with 3 groups of 32 women artisans. Despite its amazing culture, breathtaking natural surroundings, and some of the world’s greatest tourist destinations, Peru has a tremendously high poverty rate. With over one million Peruvians living in extreme poverty, nearly half of indigenous people live in just 5 of 25 regions the country is divided into.
Weather and geography add challenges to daily life, contributing to this issue. Many areas suffer from frequent floods and landslides which can cause economic activity to come to a halt while they rebuild homes and villages. Areas of the Andean Highlands typically see the highest rates of populations living in extreme poverty. Their remote isolation makes it difficult to trade with other villages and for children to have adequate resources for schooling. Only about 30% of children in these regions regularly attend school, causing a ripple effect of poor education through generations. This results in high rates of illiteracy—which are even higher for women—and difficulties finding sustainable jobs.
All of the artisans we partner with in Peru live in indigenous and difficult-to-reach areas. While this does pose logistical challenges, we feel so lucky to play a role in providing opportunities to communities and keep their long-standing traditions going.
On any given day, the workshops of our artisans are bustling with activity. Family is an important pillar in Peruvian society and you’ll see several generations working alongside each other to create beautiful handmade styles and continue building their tight-knit culture.
You’ll see the colorful relics of their past and present in the works of art we offer made by these artisans. The rich 20,000 year history of the Andean times has produced many techniques for working with fabrics, silver, and other natural materials and have beautifully transformed into modern styles that still embody such traditional values. We are blessed with amazing talent through our partnerships and love seeing the variations of styles that come from a country as beautiful as its people.
This country has so much to offer and we’re only just getting started. The pride our artisans have in their work is simply unmatched and ensuring these skills can continue is so important to us and their culture. Our partnerships are flourishing and this is just the beginning. While it’s an amazing country to visit, Peru isn’t just a tourist destination—it’s a place where you’ll fall in love with the culture you see and the people you meet. After mere moments surrounded by its beauty, you, too, will feel more Peruvian than a potato.
FAVORITE MATERIALS TO CRAFT WITH
Natural stone that is carved and polished to a beautiful finish.
Traditional and upcycled fabrics from the Andes region.
Hand-dyed string and natural fibers to create intricately unique pieces.