Fábrica Social (social factory) is a Mexican non-profit NGO focused on promoting creative and economic liberty for female textile artisans through the development of sustainable co-ops. Founded in 2006 by designers Emilienne Limón and Dulce Martinez, Fábrica Social conserves and strengthens traditional craftsmanship and commercializes the co-op’s products under a fair trade scheme through stores in Mexico and abroad, as well as in their own showroom which just opened last week in Mexico City’s hip Roma neighborhood.
Who decides what is Fair Trade? Fábrica Social began reflecting upon this question due to the countless products that carry the label without defining what it means. The organization works closely with indigenous women from regions in Mexico like Yucatán, Oaxaca and Chiapas to establish a fair reward for their work. Fabrica Social calculates a fair price for their products by taking into account the costs of living and the number of working hours they can have each day without inflicting on their roles in their families. There is also a co-op fund to be used for emergencies, material resources and attendance to commercial fairs.
Fábrica Social works with indigenous women living under poverty conditions in Mexico. According to the organization, various world stats point out that 60% of 550 million people living women living under such conditions are women who have a salary 73% less than men, but re-invest around 90% of their income on food, education and health for their families. A shocking 25% to 33% of them are the sole income at home.
The project is much more than organizing women to work together on textile goods, it preserves and promotes traditional Mexican crafts and techniques. The artisans are also given design tools that allow them to develop products that will appeal to a broader market while maintaining an individual self-discovery path for each artisan. All of the company’s brand earnings from the sale of these products are re-invested to continue supporting other groups of women throughout Mexico.
Fábrica Social is creating a better living for indigenous women in Mexico by providing design and organizational tools together with fair trade which will make a long lasting continuous improvement for their communities while preserving their traditional textile craftsmanship.