The Root Collective is a brand that produces high quality, mostly leather goods that are somehow both timeless and trendy. Even what appear to be generic leather boots, at a second glance, are two toned, have a diagonal zipper, or an embroidered seam. In short they are gorgeous and thoroughly unique.
The Root Collective was started by Bethany Tran when she left a high power marketing job and decided to search for a new path. She ended up partnering with artisans in Guatemala and that’s how this brand was born. By partnering with small workshops The Root Collective was able to create employment opportunities where they were needed and where they have the most impact. Their website states that “small business has the power to create incredible change in communities through jobs, and we want to support and empower those local leaders to continue to see change through employment.”
As the brand has grown, their goal is to continue to support existing workshops. They work with several small workshops in Guatemala City and Pastores and require transparency to ensure that shoemakers are being paid a fair wage. Their shoemakers earn between 50 and 400% above the Fair Wage minimum in Guatemala depending on their skill level.
The fabric that is used in the production of shoes and bags is handwoven by women in rural communities in one of the 2 cooperatives that The Root Collective partners with. These jobs are especially important because many rural women do not speak Spanish (they speak the native Mayan dialect) which often prevents them from entering the workforce. The Root Collective has been working with one weaving cooperative for 6 years and the other for 3 years. These lengthy relationships provide job security to many women as well as stability in their communities.
You can see many of The Root Collective makers and read their stories on their website here, and check out their shoes, bags, and clothes in our marketplace!
My personal favorites include the new Lili Mules(!), the Brandi Knot Bag, and the Espe Boot.