TierraDentro is a bracelet company based on the principles of fair trade and ethically sourced products. Founded by Rachel Bogdon and Isabella Ostos in 2014, each bracelet sold by TierraDentro is hand-made in a native reservation in Tierradentro, Colombia.
The story of TierraDentro started when Rachel and Isabella visited family in Colombia. Rachel says they experienced a bit of culture shock at first because they hadn’t seen that kind of poverty before. Rachel and Isabella had the opportunity to get to know the people of Tierradentro as they lived with an indigenous family. They noticed how the women were left alone in the mountains while the men worked. Single women and younger women, in particular, were affected most by the poverty.
Tierradentro is inhabited by descendants of the Inca, the Nasa-Paez people, a peaceful tribe with its own unique traditions and culture. Upon returning from Colombia, Rachel and Isabella were inspired to start their own nonprofit to help combat the poverty they witnessed by providing a sustainable source of income for the Nasa-Paez women.
Each TierraDentro bracelet is hand-beaded or hand-woven by an indigenous woman – either single mothers or young women trying to further education at university level – that is employed by TierraDentro on a system of fair trade. The materials for the bracelets are ethically sourced and either made from woven fabric or glass beads. Rachel and buys and ships the materials to the women so they don’t have to worry about paying for them. The women are paid for their labor and time.
Because Rachel and Isabella spent time in Tierradentro, they have personal relationships with the women who make the bracelets. The designs and techniques they use to make the bracelets have been passed down from generation to generation, keeping the little known Nasa-Paez culture alive. The designs are inspired by drawings and paintings made by the Incas on the walls of nearby caves.
TierraDentro provides women with sustainable jobs. Rachel tells me one of the bracelet makers was able to save money for a medical expense, send her daughter to a better school and even enroll her in dance class.
Each Friday, the another jennifer blog shares stories of those who incorporate philanthropy into their everyday lives – personally and professionally – in a creative and unique way. If you have a story you’d like to share, please contact Jennifer. Read past stories here.