Background: Saucesito Verde is a cooperative of textile artisans made up of 15 women in the northern Peruvian Andes. The ladies prepare their own natural dyes and hand-craft woven, knitted and crocheted fabrics. I have been working for the past year and a half to try to connect these ladies to a market for their textiles. What began as a small idea to find some retailers has grown. Last fall we had the unique opportunity to make custom bags for a U.S. designer and we hope to work with her again this year. In order to plug into more opportunities, we need to better organize ourselves for business. So, in March I returned to Peru to spend this year working with the ladies to work toward a shared vision of future work; grow a sustainable business model; secure our supply chains; create and market new designs; and develop business connections.
Our kickstarter campaign will allow us to roll out our premiere collection, 8 fresh, new fabrics and 8 beautiful, hand-woven and crocheted products. We've been working this spring to create new fabrics based on traditional patterns and motifs, and fashion prototypes for new products. We plan to release our collection online in August as well as promote it through a marketing campaign to buyers in both Peru and the U.S.
Fabrics: We have 5 wool fabric designs and hope to create 3 more great fabric designs that we all love. We'll also be experimenting with a few limited edition organic cotton and baby alpaca fabrics. The process of trying out new designs has also produced fabrics that don't quite make the cut. We plan to combine assorted fabrics from the design process in a collaged product.
Products: Four of the products for the collection will be Pillowbags, transformable cushions for your couch and bags (with removable straps) you can tote around. We've been working to develop 4 different Pillowbag designs: 1) clutch, 2) messenger, 3) adjustable yoga mat sling/backpack, and 4) tote. Some bags will feature leather straps & handles and others will have hand-woven or wooden straps & handles.
(click Designs). We have other product designs in the pipeline, too but we're also excited to work with some of you to see your ideas.
With kickstarter funds we'll be able to complete the designs for our premiere collection and roll out a first production of fabrics and accompanying products. Making your kickstarter rewards will also give us the opportunity to strengthen our organization and production capacity, practice weaving our new designs, arrive at our polished rates and costs of production, and better prepare us for future business opportunities.
Want to know where the money goes?
Continued Product Development & Production: $13937 Funds materials and labor involved in producing the collection, a special production workshop for Saucesito Verde, and color recipe archiving. $7830 pays the ladies of Saucesito Verde to prepare the yarn and weave the sample and first-run production fabrics; and pays the tailors we work with to develop product prototypes. $4927 goes toward materials (like yarn, botanicals, alum, and some large dyeing pots).$1180 funds natural dyeing experiments, archiving of color recipes, and a special dyeing workshop to expand our range of colors and ensure color consistency and replicability before production.
Marketing, Promotional Expenses & Fees: $3990 Funds fabric samples and marketing materials to potential buyers, product tags, launch and development of the project website, and associated kickstarter fees.
We'd love your help in creating the final fabric and product designs for the premiere collection! By pledging $500 or more, you can work with us to develop a custom fabric design or prototype for a new product. If you pledge $1000 you can design both -- fabric + product -- specially crafted for your unique sense of style. Even if you choose not to be involved at this level, we welcome your feedback about our designs. Once all the fabrics and product prototypes have been developed (August), we'll email out photos of all the designs and ask for your preferences. For those of you picking a product or fabric as a reward, this will also be when you tell us which design you want mailed to you. We'll be producing rewards in the fall and all woven rewards should be in your hands by the first week in December.
Some Additional Points of Interest:
This project began as a friendship with Ruth, one of the members of the Saucesito Verde. That friendship, as well as others that have grown out of the experience of working with the ladies, will continue to be honored over the course of business development. Saucesito Verde's wages have been arrived at through conversations about what is a fair wage for their labor. The ladies' interests -- as well as my sincere effort to create opportunities for income in a small town where residents are accustomed to not having work, and a wish to secure outlets for the ladies to share their craft -- are at the heart of the project.
Our kickstarter project will pay for the initial production and marketing of fabrics and products for the premiere collection. Any funds beyond the amount we're asking for (ie. the more rewards we get to make) will serve as additional opportunities for the ladies of Saucesito Verde to weave and earn income! -- and would also allow us to invest in some basic creative and organizational enhancements, like a special course from an established weaving cooperative in Cusco, workshops with textile industry experts, and a spinning wheel.
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