If you're on the search for empowered women, Guatemala is an incredible place to start. In a country where machismo culture rules, women face challenges from sun up to sun down, from birth until death. This doesn't stop them from pushing boundaries, challenging the restrictions put upon them, rising above stereotypes to support their families and pave new roads to success.
Some of the most inspiring women I know here run their own businesses, create with their hands, set their own prices, and support their families all at once!
Sonia is a not only a mother, but she runs her family business of textile weavers. She designs and sells textiles to small shops around Guatemala, and is an entrepreneur in the purest sense of the word. She fully manages production of her textiles from order-taking, to designing and hiring, and fulfilling orders. She does all of this with grace and poise, managing multiple customers at once every time I enter her shop. You can find many of Sonia's textiles on our website, we are more than proud to get to work with this magical lady.
Gladys is another woman who has helped Teysha grow from the very start. She is one of the greatest collectors of textiles in the whole country, stockpiling textiles from each region and meticulously searching for the rare textiles our shoe-enthusiasts seek. I watched Gladys manage her business while she was pregnant and grow it to a level of unbelievable success. She has not only been an incredible mentor to me, but has also been a huge support during my two pregnancies in Guatemala. She helps us source amazing textiles and takes time to connect with me as a woman each time I see her. Her friendship and partnership has been invaluable to Teysha and in my life. Gladys' influence in Teysha can be found in all of our one-of-a-kind textiles, which often come from her family collection.
Doña Maria, as she's called, is the owner and day-to-day manager of the leather factory where we buy the specially-treated leather for the soles of our shoes. She has beaten all odds and grown her family business to sell thousands of pounds of soling leather across the region per month. Our artisans respect and admire her for her perseverance in this male-dominated business, and we of course, are passionate about working with her!
Alicia is an amazing teacher Teysha partners with at the Pastores English Academy who has recently started giving tours of our tiny famous boot town with her very own group of talented young Guatemalan women. They are all learning English and have been recording the history of this small town so they can give tours to visitors. If you come to visit our Teysha workshop, it's likely one of these ambitious young women will be your tour guide! :)
These are just a very few women who inspire me on a daily basis and who are making their corners of the world better places for everyone. Their families and communities are unbelievably fortunate to have them, and I feel lucky to work alongside them.
At Teysha, women are an integral part of our business and their success is a top priority on a daily basis. We salute women everywhere and hope that by sharing the Teysha story and wearing our shoes, you can feel the empowerment that it brings to women all over the world.
------ Hanna Hall
Marta April 18, 2017