Working with Female Artisans

In honour of up-coming International Women’s Day (March 8), I would like to dedicate this blog to all the incredible female artisans working with me, without whom there wouldn’t be any MonPanama.

Collectively, spread across the globe, these amazing women produce the hats and bags sold by me. From northern Thailand, to the neighbourhoods of Bangkok and regional areas of Ecuador, these various groups of women live in different regions and specialise in different handicrafts, each involving unique natural raw materials.

The Dara Ang Co-operative, close to the Burmese border in the north of Thailand, consists of a group of eight women. These friendly female weavers make the most colourful and spectacular garments and accessories. They have a unique talent for combining colour, patterns and embellishment. They live a very simple life, supported by a limited number of intrepid travellers who pass through their village buying their handiwork.
Throughout Thailand I work with various groups of established female straw weavers who turn water hyacinth into baskets, furniture, bags and decorative objects. For many years they have been producing a premium wicker product; one that adapts to cultural change and is always evolving in terms of design.
The paja toquilla weavers who live in villages scattered through the Azuay Province of Ecuador are incredibly talented weavers. For generations this highly skilled profession has been passed down from mother to daughter.
In Bangkok I work with a stitching group that specialises in garment work. This independent and self-sufficient team comprises various female family members and friends, who all support and help each other.

What I love about working with other women is that we can all learn from each other, and, most importantly, find inspiration in each other’s work and personal stories. All of us are searching for the same thing: a profession that allows us personal fulfilment and joy, whilst at the same time bringing in money to help us support our families. These small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the perfect example of ingenuity and hard work paying off.

And so, on March 8th, I would like to sincerely thank these skilled female artisans and look forward to working with them for many more years to come. I feel exceptionally fortunate to have found a purpose-driven job, one which allows me to grow as a person, an entrepreneur and a woman. The personal experiences I have already had, and continue to have, on this MonPanama journey are highly enriching and make me want to become a better person.

Besides the joy of owning a luxurious and chic accessory, by purchasing from MonPanama you can take satisfaction from knowing that they are helping support all the women, their families and local communities mentioned above.

Thanks for reading and see you again next month,

Anne-Claude Toral

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Inspired by her travels and her passion for old movies, the Swiss founder of MonPanama, Anne-Claude Toral, has been fascinated by Panama hats and handbags since her childhood…. [read more]

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