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Have you heard of Huaywasi?

Huaywasi is LLI’s fair-trade artisan store that started as a branch off of the Women’s Empowerment Program. Huaywasi staff members work with women artisans in Huaycán, who attend educational workshops with the Women’s Program. The artisans produce handmade, one-of-a-kind products that are sold in fairs around Chicago, IL and online at http://www.huaywasi.com!

How does Huaywasi ensure that its artisans are making a fair living? 

The artisans are paid a fair hourly wage for each product that they create based on what a living wage is here in Peru. Huaywasi staff members work carefully with each artisan to calculate a fair price on each new product, based on the hours of labor and cost of materials spent making each item. Each product is handmade and designed either by the artisan or in collaboration with the Huaywasi team.

Several artisans work full time with Huaywasi, and a couple still work part time–we hope to get all artisans up to full time work in the future.

How is this different from other fashion brands, like H&M?

Brands like H&M are fast fashion brands. The goal of brands such as these is to get new trends on the market as quickly and cheaply as possible. The result is often (but we can’t speak for these brands) poorly paid workers and unethical working conditions.  Huaywasi is what is called a slow fashion brand. Our goal is not to pump out mass amounts of the same product while neglecting the well-being of our employees. Instead, we focus on high quality, uniqueness, fair wages and comfortable working conditions.

What do Huaywasi artisans do with the money they earn from their products? 

All Huaywasi artisans are mothers, and some of them are grandmothers as well. The earnings they generate from their product sales create financial stability and allow them to provide for their families while working comfortably from home. Huaywasi artisans commonly report using their funds to provide schooling for their children, pay bills and buy food from the market.

Here’s Huaywasi’s seamstress, Guillermina, explaining what she does with the income she receives from Huaywasi while making skirts, dresses and other apparel:

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