Upon arrival to Lake Atitlan the local handcrafted artisan work attracts every eye. One of many things Mayans artisans are rightly proud of is their handcraft work which is sold in many forms worldwide. For some Guatemalan business owners, this line of work is an unreliable source of income, as it ebbs and flows with tourism.
In 2013 Atitlan Leather was founded in attempt to alleviate this vulnerability small isolated towns experience. We do so by facilitating the creation and worldwide distribution of handmade leather products. Top that with great customer service and we ensure every purchase is an enjoyable experience!
In order to realize the mission, relationships had to be developed with people that hold the values of integrity, solidarity with the community, and fairness. After many encounters with many different people in a variety of industries, it was Domingo that perfectly fit the mold. Domingo is from Lake Atitlan and has an indigenous Mayan heritage. His native language is Tzʼutujil but also learned Spanish when he moved to Guatemala city to work. He is a devout family man who struggled to sent all his children, two daughters and a son, to college. He's also an honest business man that pays fair wages to his workers. Apart from the daily grind, Domingo and Walter maintain a close relationship. When together they enjoy scouring the forest for izote and bananas to prepare for the next meal, playing soccer, and going for hikes. It's an incredible fact that even though you come from a different culture and background you still have so much in common with your fellow humans around the world. Our relationship and business are testament to that fact.
While we are not fair trade certified or a Certified B Corporation that doesn't mean we don't hold ourselves to high standards or shouldn't be considered as ethical shopping. In fact we believe we are an incredibly unique business in that we all personally know each other and share the same values. That is almost never the case when a company imports goods from another company. When you purchase from Atitlan Leather you're buying from Walter who buys all his products from Domingo. Domingo owns all means of production while Walter owns the brand and retail side of things. Domingo and Walter negotiate prices for products taking into consideration all factors, especially what workers must be paid. Workers salaries are verified by a direct line of communication between Walter and the employee's. Most of the employees are indigenous women which is empowering in a community where work outside of the house is scarce for women. Furthermore Domingo is a native indigenous Mayan who is a responsible family man. He is successfully running his own business that our customers, you, are helping to build and maintain. When you're buying from Atitlan Leather, you are buying from a small business owner on Lake Atitlan and supporting a less fortunate indigenous population around the lake.