Our hand bag collection and new winter accessories (coming soon this Fall!) are produced by a worker-owned cooperative in Peru called Northern Creations. The Co-op is comprised of 25 mothers that have joined together to improve the standard of living for their families. Located in rural Piura, a hot, desertlike area 3 hours north of Lima, steady employment is hard to come by – especially for women. The mothers of Northern Creations took matters into their own hands, did what they know best (knitting and crocheting), and decided to start their own Fair Trade business.

They started meeting informally in January 2007 and have since legalized their business, expanded their product line, and are busy filling orders for their US distributor, Autonomie Project! Indeed, their handiwork is beautiful and well-crafted. A true testament to the talent of these extraordinary women!

We thought it would be nice to highlight some of the women behind our products and get their perspective on how this cooperative has impacted their lives! These are interviews with a few key players of the coop conducted earlier this year.

Maria Dolores Febres Rivera (Loly), age 23
Children: Belen (age 2)

My biggest accomplishment so far as President has been getting to know myself. I have realized that I am able to make things happen through my talent for making crafts, which God has given me. In addition, I am learning how to operate more effectively as president. For example I am learning how to speak more directly and confidently which will ultimately help me and the rest of my coworkers. Also, I am learning how to better guide the association, specifically how to organize and complete quality products and do it with kindness. I am ready to continue facing challenges that appear, as President and as a member of the Association. My hope is that [Northern Creations] exists forever, that the Association grows in terms of its products and members, and that it is a source of employment for “Piuranos” with a stable market and consistent sales.

Magali, age 27
Children: Emmanuel (age 13), Paul (age 7)

I have learned that there is something inside of me that I did not know was there. It’s the ability to crochet and the knowledge that with my leadership I can help this association grow. I hope that everyone who started this association continues and achieves success. I hope to leave this association organized and well run. I hope that in the future [Northern Creations] is viewed as an example that anything is possible and that success can be achieved even by women.
Clara, age 52
Quality Control
Children: Lisby (age 28), Victor (age 27), Jaime (age 26), Lilian (age 23), Franco (age21)
2 grandchildren

I have formed new friendships. I have learned that my age should not prevent me from learning and improving my life. Due to my position I have learned that I need to set the example and produce quality work to be able to demand that from my coworkers. I hope that [Northern Creations] grows and that I am able to continuously give the best of myself.

Juli, age 24
Vice President
Children: Yasuri (age 5)

My biggest accomplishment so far is that I have become friends with people I did not know previously in my own neighborhood. I have learned from their experiences and seen other perspectives on life. I used to think that only men could work and maintain the home financially but that is not so. Women also have the ability to do so, maybe even more than men. I hope that we continue working and developing as an Association. I hope that this lasts. I hope that we are able to sell products not just in the United States but around the world. I hope it continues so that there is work for the women of La Florida. We are leading the development and improvement of our neighborhood.

We are very excited to continue working with these women and hope to assist them in any way we can to build their business and watch their community and families thrive and succeed!