March 18, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE New York, NY (March 10, 2014) – Tata Accesorios Globales, the largest belt manufacturer in the Western Hemisphere and the premier leather manufacturer of high-end leather accessories in Guatemala, is assisting Mercado Global in their leather-detailing expansion program. Tata is an affiliate of Randa Accessories.
Mercado Global is a not-for-profit social enterprise organization that connects indigenous women artisans, in rural Guatemalan communities, to international sales opportunities. Mercado provides microloans, education, training, and tools for the rural women to build their own businesses, invest in their communities and sustainably overcome poverty. Mercado’s mission centers on designer-quality handbag collections that feature the artisans’ indigenous, elevated, weaving tradition. The handcrafted designs, now for top retailers including Holt Renfrew of Canada, United Arrows of Japan, Comptoir des Cotonniers of France, and Anthropologie, and the time-intensive weaving process, command a price that demands quality-leather detailing traditionally done only by men. In 2013, Mercado Global began their leather detailing expansion program to change the industrial sewing machines’ male-only access.
“Tata has generously provided advice to Mercado Global,” says Vanessa Uhlig, Community Outreach Director of Mercado Global, “in the initial phases of growing this capacity for artisans.” As Mercado was applying for funding with the World Bank, Tata advised on which machines to purchase with the grant. This year, Mercado has begun to train 81 women to do leather detailing on their bags using the industrial sewing machines. Moreover, Tata has furnished leather donations and this year, Tata President Rodrigo Toledo has pledged an additional, personal funding commitment. As the first company involved in this nascent initiative for Mercado, Tata is also pleased to have brought its senior shareholder, Randa Accessories, to the table as well.
“Tata has inspired Randa Accessories,” said Senior Vice President of Merchandising Ed Turner, “to contribute financial and intellectual capital to this worthy cause in 2014.”
“Our hope is that, as we continue to grow, this leather detailing technique will be a staple in our brand,” says Uhlig. “We are grateful for the opportunity to work with Tata and for their incredible support thus far.”