Artisan Organization: Alejandra Torres
"I feel very happy and content because I have been able to do what I love, without missing those moments with my family. I've been able to grow and develop personally, and I feel very grateful that you value my work. In addition, it's amazing to think that there is someone in another part of the world who likes what you do.
"I remember the first designs I created for you. What I remember most is not having proper procedures for developing them. Now, with the help of my assistants, we create technical specification sheets for each design in order to be able to guarantee jewelry of total quality.
"I began to design with the main objective of telling a story through each one. My technique was professionalized and I learned to work under international quality standards. This also allowed me to control the inventory and pay more attention to detail.
"Now I feel more confident than ever because you've been there for me since I started. Also, year after year my sales have increased. During the last three years with you, my sales have doubled.
"One change I've made, which I didn't have before, is that now I have established an area for packaging and an area of photography for our jewelry. My oldest son already works with me and looks after the digital marketing, and I have standardized processes in my workshop to achieve the quality that you require.
"My biggest goal right now is to create a process and methods to make jewelry from home, so that more women can work from their homes and, like me, enjoy their families. At the same time, I want to share with them the happiness of doing something they enjoy that helps their family finances."
Original Artisan Story
"When I was a little girl, I loved going with grandpa as he worked in the fields of Guanajuato, because he always had great stories to tell. He would ask me what I wanted to do when I grew up, and that question inspired me to dream.
"I liked selling. I enjoyed going to the market with him to sell what he harvested, and I also loved going with mom after school to sell clothes. That's how she contributed to the family's income. So I knew that when I grew up, I wanted to go to university even though my mother's family believed women were not supposed to study. My father's family, on the other hand, did support my decision.
"Dad said that I could go to university as long as I found a way to pay for it, because he couldn't afford it. He only had enough to pay for transportation there and back.
"I found a part-time job during the week and, at the weekends, I worked at my maternal grandparents' shop so I could pay tuition at Celaya's Technology Institute where I studied industrial engineering. I was also fortunate to count on the support of two uncles, who chipped in when I was in need.
"I was lucky to meet the man who was to be my husband when I was studying. I graduated after getting married, and then I went on to study for a Master's degree in business administration. I was working in Silao when my husband gave me the news he was being transferred to Mexico City, and I found out I was pregnant with our second child. I was in the middle of a project at work, so he went first and, when the project was finished, I asked to be transferred too. But my request was denied so I decided to quit so I could rejoin my husband.
"The transition was very difficult for me, I wasn't used to being a full-time mom staying at home. My children are very creative and, one day, my eldest son asked to make a treasure trunk just like he had seen on the TV, so we got all the materials and had fun making it. My daughter then noticed there couldn't be a treasure trunk without a treasure, so out we went again to get some beads, sequins and foam and had fun making jewelry and crowns. Obviously, my daughter kept the treasure!
"Then my husband got transferred again, to the city of Toluca, and I decided to look for a job as it seemed a quieter and calmer place to live. I found a school that adapted to working moms' schedules. I got a good job in a good company, but now my children were crying because they missed having me around, so I decided to quit and start my own venture. I invested my severance pay in children's toys and educational materials to sell, but I kept thinking of the 'treasure' we had made….
"I bought some quality materials and I made 40 bracelets, which I sold within a week. I had started teaching at Toluca's Regional Tech while still making jewelry and everyone loved my designs so much that I ended up dedicating all of my time to making jewelry. Timing was perfect too – my husband got transferred back to Guanajuato.
"What I like the most about making jewelry is that I am happy! I'm passionate about what I do, and I can balance family life with work. My jewelry is completely crafted by hand, and some of my designs are knitted by hand, too. My jewelry is classic and elegant, intended for the woman who is in charge of her life, who likes challenges and is impassioned about life.
"My inspiration comes from life itself, as we are part of it. When I design, I imagine women wearing my creations, what they are like, and what they might project by wearing my designs — self-assurance, love, dynamism, passion.
"I know that we will often have small or big challenges we must face, but the one I am proudest of is finishing my studies and deciding to be happy. The first time I resigned from my job I was unhappy and dissatisfied with my lot – I thought of everything I had worked for and sacrificed to finish my studies and felt I couldn't develop professionally. Then I lost my best friend and I realized life is too valuable to not make the most of it. I realized we must strive for happiness and truly enjoy all that surrounds us.
"I give thanks to God for letting me find a job that enables me to keep a sense of balance in my life. I'm finally happy with life and with my family.
"I am grateful there are people who value the work of artisans, and hope they are happy when they receive a piece of art, because each piece carries with it a history, and is the work of people full of dreams and eager to work to build a more satisfying environment.
"I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you all of you, for this is only the first of many dreams I know will come true.""