How did Lele Bombe begin?
- Lele Bombe's interest begins long before the partnership formed with the Embera Chami villages, our staff dedicated to the world of design, appreciative of the artisan culture of Colombia and proud of its Latin American roots had us chase the dream of creating empowering opportunities for at risk traditions of our magical ancestry.
Why Fair Trade?
- When we saw an Emberá indigenous woman displaying her handwork on a busy city sidewalk, we noticed how she struggled making eye contact, speaking in Spanish and fearful of those admiring her work. The street vendor was an elderly women and we knew that alike others they were constrained to sell their valued craft for minimal costs. Many needed a way to get back home (had come into the city for whatever reasons) and simply knew that it was better to take any price for their stitched artwork than go back empty handed. Seeing this very talented woman in these conditions was upsetting. The Embera culture is to be value and through fair trade principles we knew that was the only way to ensure sustainable practices.
Where did your "Connecting people to purpose driven design & creating a positive impact one indigenous pueblo at a time" philosophy come from?
- Being able to preserve, empower and celebrate the indigenous artisan sector moves us. We believe there is a conscious shopper in all of us. One can look good but to feel good is to know you have been part of a greater movement that will improve the life of another.
Who designs your products?
- We cultivate a collaboration process between our indigenous artisans and our team. The design principles are founded on the cultural and ancestral innate knowledge of our artisans.
How often do you visit the artisans?
- Our cultural mediator meets with them periodically. As a human rights lawyer, working with displaced communities - his work transcends over other areas of their lives. We have been welcomed to their village and the process of spending time together to learn, listen and experience their homes helped us build a friendship.
How long have you been working with the Embera Tribe?
- We started our work in July 2017 and currently we are building the next steps for the future of Lele Bombe and its artisans.
How much are you paying to the Embera Artisan?
- The Embera Artisans are not our employees, we pay them at a per piece rate they set and focus on small batch quantities with each community. We respect their work and honor the pricing model established and work with what they offer.
Where does the material come from?
The main material comes from Colombia - they are glass beads the artisans source from Bogota. They appoint a leader within the family to take the 8 hour bus trip to the capital to bring back the varied color beads. Each set of colors is sold in pounds and once brought back to the village they exchange it with others in the community.