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New Product Design Process

womens empowerment workshops
fair trade heart ornament

Yabal’s fair trade heart Christmas ornaments are hand sewn by women’s cooperatives in Guatemala using whimsical mis-matched fabric pieces.

Creating a new product for Y’abal is always an organic and surprising process. It requires flexibility and openness on both ends- from the designer, as well as, from the women’s cooperative.

We begin with an idea or a drawing which we take to the women weavers of the communities of Pacutama and Chuicutama, in the rural Guatemalan highlands. If it’s a new fabric or embroidery design, we’ll usually ask a couple of the more skilled weavers of the cooperative to make the initial attempt first. However, for simple product designs,we’ll spend a few sessions with the whole cooperative teaching and improving upon new product design concepts.

womens empowerment workshops

Y’abal supports 50 indigenous women weavers through workshops and job opportunities.

Our recent design workshops with the women’s cooperative of Pacutama and Chuicutama focused on creating new fair trade product ideas out of the left-over pieces of their hand-woven fabrics. We decided to try out dolls, key-chains, and heart ornaments using their hand-woven fabrics. After several sessions of combining heads and talent, we finally settled on making stuffed heart ornaments to include in our newest Fair Trade product collection- thanks to Manuela who taught all the women her button-hole sewing stitch which was the final touch that our hearts needed! It’s amazing what creativity exists within our group of women!


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