Partners since 2012
Over two decades ago, Christian’s life changed when a friend introduced him to the world of tagua crafting. Christian saw the potential for a new livelihood, so he diligently learned the trade before starting a workshop of his own with his wife. In the workshop’s early days, Christian would carve and polish the tagua pieces, then pass them to his wife to be dyed.
The workshop’s main clients were locals from Otavalo, which is home to the largest artisan market in Latin America. But little by little, the couple began to attract more customers, enabling them to hire other Artisans in their community. Christian says that the journey hasn’t been without adversity–but he is proud to use his skills to impact not just his own family, but other families in need of fair work.
Nestled in the Andes, Ecuador is known for its ecological beauty and diversity. Its varied landscape features active volcanoes, rainforests, beaches, and sprawling Incan ruins. Its main exports include agricultural products like cacao, bananas, and flowers. Ecuador is a country that treasures its natural resources–in fact, it was the first nation to officially recognize the rights of nature in its constitution in 2008. Ecuador's indigenous groups make up 25% of the population; their cultures form a unique tapestry of flavors, textiles, and languages
Stories of Flourishing
Christian RománThe founder of the workshop, Christian was born in the coastal province of Manabí before moving to Otavalo, the heart of artisan craft in Ecuador. Christian is a man with a huge heart for both his family and his community. He has three daughters who he was able to support thanks to his hard work and dedication. And now, his workshop is impacting a whole new generation. He recently was blessed with a grandson, who he says he loves with "todo mi corazón" – all his heart.
Ángel Bienvenido HernándezÁngel has worked alongside Christian since 2013. Thanks to Christian’s training, he has developed an almost sixth sense for tagua, and is able to identify which seeds are at the perfect maturity to be processed. Each day, Ángel travels to the workshop from his home in a nearby community called Aguas Amarillas with a smile. He shares that he comes to work happy every day, because he knows that his work is making a meaningful difference for his wife and three children.