Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Root Collective

Today, is a day that The Root Collective has been waiting for! It is the launch day for their new spring line! What do they do you ask? I'm so glad you brought up that question! Well, they sell shoes,  scarves, jewelry, and bags. That though, is just barely scratching the surface of what they do. 

Come on a virtual trip with me to Guatemala. There we'll see how the shoes are made and how those shoes are making a difference. 

In the slum of La Limonada in Guatemala City, many of the residents are unable to find work simply due to their address. As you can imagine gang violence is rampant in Guatemala. Children are targeted by gangs, and refusing to join can cause severe consequences, even death.

Meet Otto. 

Otto is a shoemaker from the slum of La Limonada in Guatemala City. The largest slum in Central America. He was raised, like many children in this city, with a knowledge of the streets, each day he was surrounded by the vast number of gangs in that area. He grew up with little support from his parents, which left him vulnerable to the violent environment around him. Otto knew he was different though. He loved to helps others. When he was 10, Otto began working as a shoemaker. Learning this skill helped him overcome his surroundings and help his community. 

The Root Collective partners with small-scale artisan businesses, like Otto, in marginalized communities to promote change though dignified jobs. The artisans they partner with own their own businesses, and set their own pricing. The owners have often times received business training through the nonprofits working in their area and understand how to set their pricing to ensure fair payment to their employees.

Today, Otto has his own workshop. The second floor of his house (which houses his workshop) now consists of a kitchen and breakfast bar, where he feeds his workers breakfast and lunch every day --for free. He hires women in the community to cook for the workers and earn an income for their own families.  Otto pays his workers regardless of whether or not they have work. 

Otto's dream is to involve many former gang members in his business and teach them the skills he has learned. By teaching them, he hopes that they will pay it forward and teach others to do what they have been taught. 

The Root Collective is doing more than selling shoes. They're spreading hope in the most unlikely places. You can partner with The Root Collective and Otto. Head over here to the website and check out the new spring line! The Magenta Diamond Peep Toe is my favorite! You can use the coupon code SPRING for 20% off now through Sunday, 3/8! Also, check out the video below to hear Bethany {founder of The Root Collective} share her story better than I ever could! 

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