Almost 6 years ago, I had the honor and privilege of meeting a very special guy while traveling in Oaxaca. I had no idea that this gentleman that I can truly say is not only a talented artisan and loving human being, I am lucky to call Rodri my friend. We would spend hours together with his family and co-workers looking through colors, designs, and patterns. Reviewing samples to get things just right became the norm, and then when we weren’t working on a project together he was taking us all over to introduce us to friends and other artisans that had techniques from communities and villages in places far away, where no conventional roads will take you.
Rodri was raised in a family where his grandmother taught him how to work on the pedal loom when he was a young boy after his grandfather had left their family. As he grew older, his family was forced to sell their looms and the trade was no longer a means of income for his family. When he was a young man, he was approached by the man who bought his family’s looms many years before to buy back the business that Rodri had once known. He excitedly agreed and brought in a “professor” to teach/relearn pedal-loom techniques. He still owns and uses the original family loom and others for production today. Now he has a thriving cooperative of individuals he has taught and gives opportunity to. His daughter has been learning the business and is interested in continuing the tradition using old techniques and innovating products as well.
This friend is the one that helped us launch our first product line. I couldn’t be happier to see Rodri, his family and others blessed by this project. Not only is he able to provide opportunities for himself and others with fairtrade, consistent and sustainable work- Rodri takes time, through his gratitude, to give to other communities around Oaxaca that are in need. He is dedicated to teach others and give them tools that will have a ripple effect and improves lives for their families and others in their villages and communities.
"A line of towels and blankets were the perfect product line to blend a need from city to city, coast to coast. What can be used as a beach blanket on the pacific coast, but is used as a towel in the midwest and may be used as a shawl or blanket with cooler weather on the east coast- this product line filled a void that met so many needs"