Creating Sustainable Livelihoods and Preserving Culture in Peru
Raymisa is a Peruvian producer and exporter of sustainable textiles, furniture, and home décor products. A Root Capital client since 2007, Raymisa provides traditional artisans with opportunities to use their skills to make a living. By providing markets for their goods, Raymisa increases incomes for hundreds of artisans and their families. This helps to stabilize rural communities, and to ensure that Peruvian crafts will be kept alive by a new generation of artisans.
Client Profile: Raymisa
Raquel Sanabria García and her family live in Cochas Chico, a small village in Peru’s remote Mantaro Valley. The production of handcrafts by small family workshops is the primary business of Cochas Chico, employing more than 80% of the villagers. Working in a tradition that originated with the Incas, Raquel and her family produce hand-decorated ornamental crafts from dried gourds.
“On traditional gourds we draw scenes from life here in Cochas: farming, engraving, weaving, everything that is from daily life,” Raquel says. “I was born in Cochas Grande, and learned handcrafts from my parents. My grandparents did it too.”
Working with Raymisa has enabled Raquel and her family to find new markets for their products. They’ve expanded their production and have adapted their traditional style for export markets, producing Christmas-themed products for U.S.-based buyers like T.JMaxx and Pier 1 Imports.
“I would like my generation to continue to cultivate the art because it is so nice to see us all working and busy,” Raquel says. “It’s not just a job, it's an art, and we cultivate it and teach it to others, so future generations can do it and improve it even more.”
Root Capital’s support for Raymisa has been a key factor in its expansion into the U.S. market. Walter Paredes, sales manager for Raymisa, explains, “As we entered the American market, we found that customers did not pay immediately; they paid in 30 days, or in 60 days, and that was where we started to need financing.” Raymisa needed loans to pay its artisans in time to complete its orders, but had trouble getting credit from conventional Peruvian banks. Since 2007, Root Capital has lent Raymisa more than $900,000.
Raymisa’s impact on rural communities goes beyond the families from whom they buy crafts directly. Raquel Sanabria García’s husband, Sebastian, says, “About 18 people work in the workshop almost every day, when we have more orders, we call more families. Some days we get up to 25 people.
“For us, working with Raymisa has been very good,” Sebastian says. “They pay us for the orders we fill, and the families that work here are always compensated for their work. I can see that the families are also doing well. They're prospering, their children go to school, and my children have gone to school, too, which has helped us a lot.”
Sebastian and Raquel’s oldest children, Eric and Ivelis, are attending college as they continue to work in the family workshop. While they are the first generation of their family to go to college, both will return to the family business. Ivelis plans to be an accountant, and Eric says, “I'm studying law because I want to help my parents. I think we'll need the support of commercial law, international law, and customs, so I'll be able to help without leaving the tradition that we have as artisans.”