Welcome to the South American Holiday Gift Guide from Elevate Destinations! Were you dreaming of traveling to South America this year? Did you envision yourself wandering through vibrant markets, bright colors, and feeling a newfound energy in the adventure of it all? We get it. We’re right there with you. Keep your dreams alive and allow your holiday shopping this year to transport you to all of these markets you’ve been daydreaming about.
We’ve put together a list of organizations and local artisans that sell and shop their products to the US, so that you can bring the flair of South American cultures into your home.
Image above: Stoneware tumblers made by Colombian artisans from Magda Made.
- Creamos – Founded as a social enterprise to offer dignified income-generating opportunities within Safe Passage, Creamos’ parent NGO. Cremos fosters self-esteem, wellness, leadership, and financial independence for women in Guatemala City who have historically relied on collecting, recycling, reusing and reselling items scavenged in the garbage dump. Today, Creamos provides opportunities for these women for dignified and sustainable employment, emotional support services and education. Shop their online collection filled with jewelry, accessories, bags and eco friendly holiday bags for your gift wrapping!
- Friendship Bridge – All products from Friendship Bridge are handmade by artisans in Guatemala. Their artisan partners are women who come from the poorest areas of Guatemala and who, before Friendship Bridge, lacked the market to sell their products and generate their own income. In partnership with MAIA, many artisans working with Friendship Bridge are supported through mentoring programs and internships where they receive job training and practical work experience.
- Cojolya – Cojolya Association of Maya Women Weavers was founded to preserve the art of traditional looms while providing a sustainable, viable source of income to Mayan women in Guatemala. Products, including scarves, bags and homegoods, are hand-woven on a traditional back-strap loom by a member artisan. 50% of every purchase goes back directly to artisans and an additional 25% is set aside for social programming including scholarships, environmental initiatives and educational workshops.
- Wakami – Rooted in the belief that global change begins on a local level, Wakami partners with local artisans, 96% of whom are women, in villages across Guatemala. By providing artisans with training and income opportunities, they have found a ripple effect of improved prosperity and wellness in their local communities. Shop with Wakami this holiday season for handmade woven jewelry, wrap bracelets and more.
- Hiptipico – With a mission to create job opportunities for Guatemalan artisans and sharing their Mayan culture, Hiptipico creates a sustainable avenue for quality artisan products to reach global markets. Purchase unique bags, accessories or home decor that are handmade by Guatemalan artisans using sustainable materials and traditional Mayan designs.
- The Root Collective – Partnering with small, independent workshops to empower local communities through employment opportunities and fair wages, The Root Collective brings their products to global markets. Ethically and sustainably made shoes, bags and clothing are designed and created by small workshops in Guatemala City using fabrics that have been handwoven by the two women’s cooperatives that The Root Collective partners with.
- De la Gente Coffee Cooperative – De la Gente supports local coffee farmers – 5 cooperatives comprising nearly 300 individual growers – and provides a fair price for their products offering direct sales from producer to consumer. They have worked with farmers to improve the quality and cooperative infrastructure. The organization has a 6 point value system that includes (1) Transparency, (2) Respect and Openness, (3) Innovation, (4) Empowerment, (5) Sustainability, and (6) Accountability and Integrity.
- Yabal Handicrafts – A certified fairtrade enterprise, Yabal works directly with women’s weaving cooperatives in the highlands. These are skilled women that work with natural dyes and the traditional weaving techniques. Training and social programs also help women to excel in business, support new mothers in their journey of parenthood, financial management, food security and education funds.
- Tilde – A boutique that features unique leather and woven products by local artisans to ensure they receive a just wage.
- Itza Wood – Local artisans use sustainably sourced and certified hardwoods from the jungle regions of Petén to make beautiful housewares and other products which help to fund and support education.
- Mercado Global – Shop ethically and beautifully handwoven items while supporting the lives of women and their families through Mercado Global’s shop. Your purchase here helps contribute to poverty alleviation.
- HopeMade – Any purchase from HopeMade supports the Colombian artist and partners of HopeMade. Their shop features traditionally designed and handwoven accessories and home decor made with natural materials by artisans from all over the country. Each product has its own story and meaning, like the mochila bags – mochila symbolizes the Mother of the Universe.
- Magda Made – This curated collection of contemporary accessories, homegoods and artwork, showcases the work of talented Colombian artisans and the beauty and vibrancy of Colombian culture.
- Awamaki – Working with rural Andean women’s cooperatives to launch successful small businesses and create traditional, high-quality products, Awamaki invests in women’s skills, supports their leadership and connects them to global markets. Shop for hand woven products of traditional Peruvian designs. Their online shop features cozy hats, scarves and other knit accessories made from 100% alpaca wool.
- Fortress of Inca – Shop for hand-crafted shoes, textiles and accessories from Peru this holiday season with Fortress of Inca. A company that partners with family-owned and operated factories and workshops to maintain classic designs and provide fair wages for artisans.
- Noonday Collection – Noonday Collection was launched in Uganda in a collaborative effort to use fashion to create jobs in a local Ugandan community. It has since expanded all over the world to reach artisans who design jewelry and accessories using traditional materials and skills to create unique jewelry, develop their businesses through fair trade so they can grow sustainability and reach global markets.
- Ampersand Coffee Roasters – Get your loved ones the gift of rich, delicious coffee and caffeine with a coffee subscription from Ampersand Coffee Roasters, a collective that benefits women who work in coffee production all over the world.
- Atlas Coffee Club – Give your loved ones the gift of coffee from around the world with Atlas Coffee Club’s subscription boxes. Atlas will curate the best coffees from Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda and more and ship coffee right to your door.