Handmade Stories: The Fashion Brand That Empowers Andean Communities

Handmade Stories is an online, ‘slow-fashion’ brand that makes high-quality clothing, jewellery and homeware for women, – whilst empowering artisans and women in rural communities in disadvantaged positions.

The brand works with three groups:

1. Women in rural communities who handcraft traditional textiles, – that are then incorporated into stylish garments at a family-run factory in Lima, the capital of Peru (which Handmade Stories also works with),

2. A family of traditional jewellery makers who lost their jobs during the pandemic. Thanks to Handmade Stories, they were able to re-open their workshops again. Together, they created a range of Silver 950 jewellery,

3. And, men in prison who need to work to support their families. They make Handmade Stories’ homeware range completely by hand, – using handlooms, and they set the prices for their work.

Each garment is made by working closely with both the textile creators, and the factories under fair trade principles. This allows the women in rural communities to work flexibly, – without them having to leave their community. The brand also encourages open conversations regarding pricing, and they help workers to set up their own local businesses.

Working in the fields is not enough, and we need support. We have husbands, we have kids, and we need to help our husbands, because what they bring home is not enough to support our families,‿ said Flora, – one of the women that Handmade Stories works with.

We have open conversations about pricing with the people we work with. Some of them need help calculating their costs, and we help them to figure out what they should be charging,’ said Elena, the Founder of Handmade Stories: ‘I hope we can see them prosper and help more people who are seeking economic independence.’

Handmade Stories came to life at the beginning at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in Peru.

Elena Brook-Hart Rodriguez was volunteering with women in rural communities of the Andes when the pandemic hit, and despite the volunteering organisation closing operations and asking volunteers to go home, she decided to stay and create a platform to help these women and other disadvantaged groups prosper. 

Previously, Elena worked as a strategist at advertising agencies, such as at Wunderman Thompson and TBWA in London, and now her conscious business sells worldwide through their online store, and they’ve been featured in several publications to date.

Find out more here: www.handmadestoriesworld.com