(Editor's Note: The closing of Peacecraft a few weeks ago left artisans and other producers of fair-trade goods without one of their outlets to sell their products. This piece from Tom Aageson illustrates the impact on the women's cooperatve at Puerto Palomas in Chihuahua)
Peacecraft closed its Albuquerque store and the ripple effect is reaching into the poor, border village of Puerto Palomas de Villa, Chihuahua, Mexico.. Peacecraft sold products for a women’s cooperative, called Palomas Oilcloth Designs, from that small community, located on the border with the U.S. (across from Columbus, New Mexico)
The women make beautiful aprons, placemats, tablecloths and lovely tote bags from oilcloth. The loss of any customer can lower their already low incomes. Peacecraft sold for them for the last three years and products always sold well in the store. Losing that income has been difficult.
Over the last five years, these women have built their handmade enterprise from desire to a sustainable firm. The women take orders over the phone or the internet; design their own products; and buy oilcloth and other supplies despite daily challenges. For example, they do their own banking, but there is no bank in their town and they have to travel to make deposits.
Border Partners, is a volunteer group located across the border in Deming, New Mexico. They worked with the women of Palomas Oilcloth Designs to help them start and grow their business. Border Partners has other projects with people from Puerto Palomas to start businesses, to improve health and education and to promote the use of low-cost sustainable technology.
For the women, they need more fair trade outlets for their work. Their quality is high, and the prices competitive. They can supply orders from small to large and maintain their quality. You can see examples of their work at their store online.
If you know of any possible sources of new business for them, please contact the coordinator in Puerto Palomas, Ludy Loya. firstname.lastname@example.org