By Raan & Shea Parton
Photos by Peru Project
When we begin to co-create a product with a new partner, we always share our process of starting slow and allowing the market to determine the future of each item we produce. We make sure to share the results from our partnerships that have quickly scaled, creating a unique sense of ownership with each of the artisans we work with. So when we came across some of the softest hand loomed Alpaca from Peru, we were keen to share with the 35 person team our goal of advocacy through industry.
The co-op was founded by Mercedes Benavides, a native to Lima that has pioneered a revolutionary vision for her local community. Through her leadership she has created employment opportunities for a small group of artisans in Lima. Benavides leads by her exemplary work ethic and and her ability to inspire people around her to see that with a little motivation people's talents and skill set are the best and most sustaining way to improve their lives. Benavides is guided by a profound personal philosophy that “you should give back to society as much as society has given you.” Benavides has a sincere and beautiful heart for bringing social development to the beautiful country of Peru.
Within the co-op Benavides has trained everyone in the Peruvian legacy of Alpaca weaving and together they have learned to work in groups and support each other as the co-op has grown. The members of the co-op have been able to provide for their families and some of them are now land and home owners through their earnings. Benavides understands that investing in people is the most valuable way to create sustainable change. Benavides also understand the importance of carefully sourcing their materials, an approach which continues to be a central part of their business, enabling every owner to truly appreciate what goes in to each hand loomed shawl, blanket and scarf, co-designed by Apolis. We are proud to find some of the softest hand loomed Alpaca we've ever come across to truly make anywhere feel like home.
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