From Unemployed Artisans to Workshop Owners: 30 years ago, Colombia was the main leather producer in the world, until the importing from Asia started taking over, many leather experts, artisans were left without a job. These master artisans who used to make delicate leather goods had to work as cobblers again, fixing soles, making laces, or selling shoe cleaning product around poor areas in Colombia.
When Mamahuhu first started, we walked around in disadvantaged areas to find these master artisans, showing them our design and way of working, and seeking collaboration. These artisans were really happy to have the opportunity to go back to their roots and start making leather shoes again.
When they decide to join, Mamahuhu would give them a seed capital for them to get shoe trees, machines, and other tools. In this way, they transform the little shops where they fix shoes into a work shop, where they start to handcraft Mamahuhu shoes.
From Workshop Owners to Business Leaders: Instead of employing the artisans, Mamahuhu supports them to set up their own workshops to achieve independent growth. And by offering them sustained purchase orders, Mamahuhu encourages these workshops to hire new workers and thus create new jobs. For every workshop we create for master artisans, around 15 new jobs would be created by each of the workshops. As they grow, they become registered companies, and the master artisans become business leaders at their companies.
Mamahuhu's Impact: We have created 11 workshops in Colombia, which have created 112 jobs, and the network is continuously growing.
From Black Shops to Official Companies: Starting with a micro loan, and supporting by purchasing their products, Mamahuhu helps artisans who used to work at unregulated black shops to become legitimate company owners. These new leather manufacturing companies keep creating new jobs for the community, paying taxes on their gaining, and providing health insurance to their employee. In doing so, these companies create a positive environment within the community.
Sustainable Growth of the Artisan Network: Each workshops we create usually have 1 or 2 master artisans, who then hire medium/non-skilled workers, and train them to learn the new skills, bringing back the art of traditional leather shoe making. In some cases, these new workers became master artisans after some years, and then opened their own workshop, hired new workers and passed on the training. Later on, they created their own companies. This expanding entrepreneurial artisan network has introduced new way of working to the traditional leather industry.
Prepare Colombian Artisans for International Market: After making shoes for Mamahuhu, the artisans learned how to use the finest leather and the best practices to make luxury shoes. Therefore they are prepared to use these skills and work for other renowned luxury brands. In Colombia, there has been no one who make these type of luxury shoes, thus their valuable skills make them ready for the international market.
Mamahuhu's Impact: We help artisans from building workshops, hiring workers, and creating registered companies, to having more than 20 employees, and providing service for other companies. In this way, Mamahuhu not only create jobs, but also create companies which create more jobs for the community.
No Children, More Women: We make sure that the workshops don't use child labors, and hire as many women employees as possible. Many of them are trained with stitching skills.
Flexible Working Hours: We don't have time schedules for the workshops. They can decide when they want to work more for one day and less for another, as they only need to fulfill the monthly production goal, they are able to work as flexible as entrepreneurs.
50% Higher Payment: Mamahuhu pays 50% more to workshops for the production, to ensure that they have more to invest in new machines and employ more workers. And to ensure high product quality, we pay for finished product instead of salary, which is a healthy incentive for the artisans.
Self Sustainability: By supporting artisans to create workshops and registered companies, Mamahuhu helps them to become self sustainable in the long term.