So in our second year of ops we branched out quite a bit.
Wanting to work with more women in more countries, we started new relationships with Le Look Bags of Nigeria, Hannah's Leather & Craft of Guyana, and finally, at the end of the year, Isla Mujeres Women's Beading Cooperative on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.
I've talked in previous posts about Le Look - so all I'll say here is that we're super excited for what they'll be rolling out in 2018!!
As for Hannah's, on my March trip to Guyana I sourced Kupendiza's first leather bags from this small women's co-op outside Georgetown. Their bags are every inch handmade, feather-light, and fashioned from delicate stamped sheepskin leather and caiman leather. [**Note that the skins are a byproduct of food production. These animals weren't sacrificed to make a handbag. #ethicalfashion] We'll be bringing back new styles from Hannah's next month.
But what I want to talk about here is that finally, at the end of December, I was able to acquire our first purses from the women at Isla Mujeres Women's Beading Co-op. This took some doing, but here they are!
Thousands of beads? Don't know. Haven't counted. But aren't these little cross-body wonders absolutely adorable?
Here are the women whose unbridled creativity produces these gems:
Isla Mujeres brings the unique aesthetic of the Mayan heritage into Kupendiza's product family, something we have wanted since the beginning. Everything bright and beautiful about the Mayans is reflected in these bags. IMHO.
The island floats down near the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula, not far from Cancun. Communications can be spotty. It's a long trip. The group has grown to serve the growing tourist market in the area; their work has earned them avid fans and a loyal following.
Read more about Isla Mujeres at Karen Rosenberg's blog post about the island, the people, and the beading co-op.
This co-op is indeed a social enterprise. Here's a list of the local projects they take on.
Welcome to the Kupendiza family, Isla Mujeres!