As I have been trying to get Uxibal off the ground over the last few months, I have had a difficult time figuring out how I should explain to people what our company is all about: do i focus on the handmade aspect of all of our products and the creation of luxury artisan goods? do i focus on how we support Mayan tradition and encourage the production of elaborate textiles (produced the same way they have been for centuries)? or do I focus on how we create a unique style of boots & apparel with a modern bohemian theme? Each of these themes are important parts of our brand, however, none of them fully capture my main motivation for starting the company in the first place. Let me explain…
Guatemala is a country where more than 75% of the indigenous Maya population live on less than $2.00 per day (CESR, 2009). Women, in particular, are among the most disadvantaged population with the highest rate of gender inequality in all of Latin America. For most women sexual harassment and discrimination are a daily occurrence. Girls of indigenous communities are far undereducated compared to their male counterparts–they are more likely to drop out of school, get married and have children before they even turn 18. For these reasons, finding employment is often more difficult for women, further reinforcing their underprivileged status. For true change to occur, women need to be the focus.
Research has shown that when women earn money, they are more likely to spend it on things that will progress their community. Women invest their money into things like education, improved nutrition and family planning. By achieving these basic needs, families can begin to conquer poverty and improve their lives. We see that women are the drivers of sustainable development and for that reason they are the central focus of our model.
Uxibal provides economic opportunities to Mayan female artisans in Guatemala. We work with very talented women skilled in the design and creation of traditional Mayan textiles. We connect them with a larger market and share their craft with the rest of the world. They are able to turn their skill into income, thereby improving their own lives and that of their families.
If we are able to successfully fund our kickstarter campaign, we would be providing over 50 women the opportunity to work, with the potential to expand. We can only achieve this goal if we have backers that believe in us and moreover, believe in our cause. We are not asking you to make a donation of charity, but rather, invest in a company with an upstanding social mission and receive high-quality, handcrafted products in return. Only with your support can we become more than just a boot company.