About the project:
Las Bordadoras has four groups with a total of 60 embroiderers, and we are getting ready to open four more groups with 60 more women. We operate on the Sarchi and Naranjo areas of Costa Rica, famed for their coffee plantations but also notorious for their lack of work opportunities for women, especially for mothers.
We recruit women through religious and social aid entities, and we give priority to those in greater need of work, such as single mothers. We give these women a 4-week embroidery course, including all materials and equipment, at NO COST to them. When they finish the course successfully we invite them to embroider for us, and we pay them more than minimum hourly wages while enabling them to work from home and at whatever times are most convenient to them.
About our designs:
We embroider entirely original designs, inspired on traditionally Costa Rican art, flora and fauna. The Sarchi line, which is out strongest currently, uses graphic elements form the traditional Costa Rican oxcart but gives them a new lease on life, combining the best of our tradition with 21st century aesthetics.
About the environment:
Las Bordadoras has a strong environmental conscience, and we spare no efforts to reduce waste and minimize our carbon and water footprints. Our line of small purses is made of recycled or waste fabrics, and the beads we use to decorate our bags are made by Sarchi artisans using waste wood from furniture factories. We use every last scrap of fabric, and all thread ends are donated to a local organisation that makes handmade paper. To reduce emissions, we bring our workshops to the communities so participating women do not have to commute with their children. We are currently looking into ways to evaluate our carbon footprint so we can offset it.
Most importantly, what do we actually sell?
We actually carry two lines of products. Our high-end product is a beautiful 15"x15" hand-embroidered cushion cover, made of raw canvas and requiring over 18 hours of embroidery work. It has a recommended retail price of $150. Our economy line consists of gorgeous little coin and makeup purses (4",6" or 8" wide) made on recycled fabric and boasting colorful embroidery. We sell those at prices between $10 and $20.