Konob’ Weavings, fair-trade imports from Guatemala
Hello and thank you for visiting my page! My name is Catarina Lorenzo. I am a Q’anjob’al-Maya woman from the town of Santa Eulalia in the department of Huehuetenango in the western highlands of Guatemala, Central America. Currently I split my time between Guatemala and the United States, where my husband is from. I am the founder and proprietor of Konob’ Weavings, a small fair-trade import business.
What’s in a name?
Konob’ (sounds like “coe-nope”) is a word in my first language, Q’anjob’al-Maya (sounds like “khan-hoe-ball”). “Konob'” signifies both a town and a people at the same time. For those of us who speak Q’anjob’al the word konob’ conjures up a beautiful and rich sense of identity and belonging to both a place and a group of people. I named my business Konob’ Weavings because the products I sell are all from very particular places and people: Guatemalan Maya women weavers. Naturally, Konob’ Weavings is about the products I sell, but at a more profound level I want it to be about the people, the women, who make these products. Naming my business konob’ is a constant reminder of the fundamental principles underlying the foundation of the store. My hope is to help provide a dignified living for the women whose products I am selling and to thereby contribute a small granito de arena, a grain of sand, to help transform the situation of exclusion and marginality in which many indigenous Maya women live in Guatemala.
Konob’ Weavings, is a fair trade business whose mission is to provide social and economic opportunities to indigenous female artisans in Guatemala, women who have historically been economically poor and socially marginalized. Konob’ seeks to transform this reality and create a more just and sustainable world by building alliances and working together with indigenous women’s cooperatives that produce high quality hand made textiles.
To be a reliable and fair distributor of high quality textiles produced by indigenous women’s cooperatives in Guatemala, so that these artisans can have a secure and just income, making a dignified living.
Guiding Values of Konob’ Weavings:
- High quality products
- Social justice
- Gender equality and respect for minorities
- Respect for the environment and Mother Earth
- Cooperation and solidarity
- Critical thinking
All of Konob’s Products are:
- High quality and hand made by Maya women in highland Guatemala.
- Fair trade, I pay the producers a higher price for their products which is set by them.
- Many products are made from recycled materials: hand bags, pillow cases, and certain cosmetic bags, for example, are made from hand woven blouses called guipiles that most Maya women wear.
- Many products are made with natural dyes with the women themselves staining the raw threads with colors extracted from carrots, allspice, fuchsia, annatto seed, avocado leaves, sacatinta, hilamo, guachipilín, and St. John’s Wort, among other others.
- The products we offer include: Scarves, Shawls, Hand Bags, Cosmetic Bags, Money Pouches, Earrings, Pendants, Bracelets, Table Runners, Place Mats, Cloth Napkins, Decorations, Pillow Cases, Bookmarks.
Why found a female-oriented fair-trade import business?
Guatemala is a multicultural and multilingual country composed of 24 different ethnic groups which is incredibly rich in cultural and ecological diversity. Despite the natural and cultural richness however, the majority of Guatemalans live in condition of economic poverty. Mayan women are especially affected by this situation as they are three-times discriminated against: 1) for being female, 2) for being indigenous, and 3) for being economically poor. In the face of these injustices, some Mayan women in different regions of Guatemala have organized themselves into weaving cooperatives or associations with the aim of uniting and multiplying their strengths as a way to look for opportunities to combat their marginalization. The fundamental idea is to build on one of the ancestral practices of Mayan culture, the production of artisanal textiles, as a means of autonomously supporting themselves and to advance economically, organizationally, and intellectually.
An important part of obtaining this advancement is looking for new markets for the products, which is what led to the founding and vision of Konob’. Most Mayas and other Guatemalans who appreciate Maya culture do not have the economic capacity to acquire our products at a just price. Therefore we realized the necessity to look for a market outside of Guatemala.
Konob’s products come from the indigenous women who are members of the following cooperatives:
- Asociación Chajulense, which is integrated by Ixil-Maya women from the towns of San Gaspar Chajul, Santa María Nebaj, and the village of Pulay, Nebaj all in the department of Quiché.
- Asociación de Mujeres Tejedoras con Tinte Natural LEMA, which is formed by Tz’utujil-Maya women in San Juan La Laguna, Sololá.
- Asociación de Autoayuda Chinimaya, made up of Tz’utujil-Maya women from San Juan La Laguna, Sololá.
- Cooperativa Teixchel, with Tz’utujil-Maya women from San Pedro La Laguna, Sololá.
- Asociación Comunitaria Ixoq Ajkeem, which was organized by Tz’utujil-Maya women from San Juan La Laguna, Sololá.
- Asociación Todos Santos, made up of Mam-Maya women from Todos Santos Cuchumatán, Huehuetenango.