Preserving Guatemalan Culture and Mayan Values through Fair Trade Fashion

Tesoros Maya aims to create a cultural exchange and appreciation between Guatemalan artisans and conscious consumers. Our goal has always been to walk this journey alongside Maya families while giving global exposure to their beautiful textiles and ancestral techniques. Moving forward towards a new year, we want to put the emphasis on local indigenous women. 

Angelica, founder of Tesoros Maya, is Guatemalan by birth, and she knows firsthand the diverse layers of Guatemalan culture and traditions. As a mother and a long-lasting advocate of human rights, she wants to create a platform where indigenous women have a say in where the future of Guatemala is heading; whether in fashion or politics. 

This brings us to our new announcement: Meet Marleny.Preserving Maya Culture

 Angelica had the honor to meet Marleny and her family in early 2018. Angelica was seeking an authentic travel experience for her American-born children, and she ended up at Casa de Virginia (Marleny’s mother). The connection was immediate, and the love and appreciation was mutual.

Angelica’s visits to Casa de Virginia continued as Tesoros Maya’s business grew; however, the global pandemic halted many projects and dreams for Tesoros Mayaj, and also for Marleny. Yet, as business slowed down during the pandemic, Marleny’s and Tesoros Maya’s connection grew stronger. 

In 2021, as many businesses vanished, re-branded, or started all over again, Tesoros Maya grew, establishing a base of loyal customers who want more transparency and a deeper connection to the weavers. We are proud to announce that as of this fall, Marleny has accepted the position of Operations Manager with us, operating out of rural Guatemala. 

Marleny will be our voice of transparency and authenticity to the indigenous communities in Guatemala. She is in charge of ensuring we maintain fair production practices, conditions, and prices  for our artisans.

Marleny is a native of Panajachel, Guatemala; her ability to speak Kaqchikel, K'iche, and Spanish expands our efforts to meet and shine a light on the Maya community. She has a passion for supporting underserved families, and her indigenous background gives her a deep understanding for the communities we work with. 

Marleny will be in constant contact with our artisan partners all around Guatemala. She will have a deeper relationship with each of our vendors, and will help coordinate our ethical tours in 2022.

When Marleny is not working alongside artisan families, you will find her helping her grandmother and mother with their food vending business. She has a desire to continue her studies in business administration, and we hope to support her dream of getting a college degree and beginning to master the inner workings of international commerce. 

With a deep love and appreciation for her family’s Mayan culture and traditions, Marleny has always been an essential part of Tesoros Maya, and we are so honored that she has joined our team full time.

A large part of our mission as a business is to give more power back to the indigenous families in the communities in which we work. We want to hire and empower the next generation of Guatemalan entrepreneurs, and this is our first step in supporting that mission. 

Tesoros Maya has a local knowledge of the Maya culture, and we are showing indigenous women the business side of textiles and how to work within international standards. This can allow them to teach their daughters to maintain a successful business. It promotes fair wages, respect, healthy working conditions, and entrepreneurial confidence, and preserving the importance of family life helps us expand the pool of possible solutions to community and global issues.

Tesoros Maya’s relationship with our long-term partners is built on trust, transparency, and mutual respect. Purchasing items from these vendors supports a small local business, motivates local entrepreneurial spirits, and stimulates the local economy.

You can now follow along LIVE from Guatemala, as we explore new journeys along with Marleny. More than ever, we need and appreciate your support of our slow fashion practice. 

Be sure to like, share, and follow Tesoros Maya on Facebook and Instagram for global news, ethical travel, and women's empowerment.

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