Meet the Artisans
Ana and her sisters created their textile company in 2013, working with artisans and communities in Guatemala to produce high-quality goods from sustainable, handwoven textiles and sell them across multiple channels. Their goal is to empower artisans and create prosperity for local communities in Guatemala by celebrating their cultural heritage and textile skills passed from mother to daughter for generations.
San Juan La Laguna (Lake Atitlan region)
“I come from a large family, with four sisters and one brother. We were blessed to attend school, and all graduated from high school. Seven years ago, I started my own business called Batz Textiles. Batz means “thread” in Tz’utujil, the Mayan language I speak. My mother is an artisan, and she taught me how to weave. After graduating high school, I worked as an artisan for different places, but there was great instability with those jobs. Now, as a business owner, I can provide meaningful work for many artisans. We began with five artisans, and now more than fifty people help me with our products. I have attended college to learn more about management, and two of my sisters have done online training to better serve our customers.
“I set goals each year for our business. We were first in a rented space, but now we have built our own place. One of the main problems in our business is that artisans are not well-paid and are not treated with dignity. Because we no longer pay rent, we can invest in the lives of more artisans. And because we only produce what we are asked for or what we can sell, it has been very challenging to offer income to our artisans because of the pandemic. Because of the Orphan Outreach Marketplace, we are able to provide jobs. Right now, around fifty families are being helped. Not all of them live in San Juan. We also have a group of women and some men working in Cerro de Oro, as well as Totonicapán.
“Thank you to the founders of the Orphan Outreach Marketplace for opening doors for us because it is not easy to make our way into new markets. We can’t thank you enough for taking our products to different places where we are not yet and we couldn’t do it if it weren’t for people like Jennifer. We thank you for this opportunity which has a major impact on the life of many people. We are very thankful. and we hope we can take this commercial relationship to the long term.
“I want to expand my business and join the digital field, which I believe is something we can make happen now, although we will need to train ourselves and organize everyone to make it work. I believe that is how we can take our products to different places in the world. We would start with the United States and then probably Europe so that we can increase our sales and then offer job opportunities to more people.”
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