Sitting at a sewing machine in the corner of the room, Sandra tucked her hair behind her ear. She lifted the leather backpack she was working on and examined it before cutting the loose thread that was hanging on the end.
Growing up, Sandra watched her father, Jose, an expert leather worker cut, dye, and sew pieces together to create beautiful and functional items.
“Everything I have learned about leather, I have learned from my dad,” she explained.
In Guatemala, the leather industry is largely dominated by men, who carry out the majority of the design work. Sandra, however, is a leader in the Simple Leather workshop and is trusted for her innovation and craftsmanship.
Standing next to a table with leather piled to her waist and cutting boards and scissors scattered on the side, she sifted through the material. “I like seeing the end product,” she said, describing the process of creating something from start to finish.
For Sandra, crafting something new is like putting a puzzle together. “It’s a challenge trying to work everything out.” After recreating Simple Leather’s Portfolio, a sleek bag designed for office work on the go, she felt extremely accomplished. “I realized I can do anything,” she said.
As a single mother, it is important to Sandra to show her six year old daughter, Camila, that women can exist in spaces where the majority of people do not look like them. Through her work with Simple Leather, she is carving pathways for Camila to work in whatever spheres she is drawn to, just like her mother.
With more consistent orders, Simple Leather plans to train and hire more artisans with the intention to create jobs in a country with a high unemployment rate. By purchasing stunning corporate gifts from artisans like Sandra, companies can embed impact into their everyday business practices by creating fair and dignified work for handcrafters around the world.