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Investing in Women is Good Business

By Andra Breazeale

Andra, WPMarket Associate Director, is currently living in Guatemala and got a chance to catch-up with our newest partner organization Friendship Bridge. She shares her experience in a two-part blog.

Meet Yolanda. Yolanda came to Friendship Bridge after making products for another non-profit. She was paid for her labor, not for the products she made. Although Yolanda is a talented artisan with many years of experience, during her first group training with Friendship Bridge she was surprised to learn there were many important aspects of product development that she was unaware of that could help with the development of her business. For example, she realized she had been using material that bleeds and that she knew very little about the total process of product development, including how the materials are made and what is required to export products out of Guatemala.  

After the training, Yolanda gave thanks to América and shared her excitement that Friendship Bridge was different than the other organizations she collaborated with in the past. She felt Friendship Bridge was investing in both her and her business. Yolanda recently received an order for 100 scarves and was able to fill out all of the required documents and shared that she feels independent and confident now that she better understands the process from production to shipping.

When the artisans were asked why they like to work with Friendship Bridge, they shared that they appreciate that Friendship Bridge sells to people who value the work that they do. Not only does Friendship Bridge invest in the women through training and education, they provide market access to customers who value the quality, beauty and the woman behind each purchase.

We at WPMarket are honored to share the Friendship Bridge story this month and feature the one-of-a-kind Maria Clutch. A clutch that will definitely make all of your girlfriends jealous, but more importantly a clutch that makes a statement. A statement to the world that fashion and buying handmade products can make a big impact in the lives of traditional artisans. 

A special thanks to América Chiyal for taking the time to meet with me and for sharing her own story and the stories of the artisans she works with. Also, to Aron Rosenthal, Friendship Bridge’s Guatemala-based Project Manager, for translating and for guidance and creative language for this blog.

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