Photo: Pocket disc
A company in North Carolina that sells products handmade by Mayan women in Guatemala uses part of its revenues to aid indigenous families in the region.
Charlotte-based PhD Productions LLC launched a colorful, 100-percent-cotton flying disc made by 400 Mayan women at a weavers’ cooperative in Guatemala’s Panajachel region.
According to Patrick Groft, one of the company’s owners, in 2011 more than 200,000 Pocket Discs were sold in the United States for profits around the $2 million mark.
“Our goal is not just to make a great product but also to create sustainable jobs with good pay that highlight the culture and traditions of these indigenous people and, above all, that benefit families of the area,” he said.
Part of the profits from making the discs and other products like handbags and headbands are used to buy school materials and finance social work that helps relieve the poverty that is the normal lot in life for residents of Panajachel.
The Pocket Disc is very popular among teenagers, children and dog-owners because it’s easy to take to parks and other recreational areas.
To launch a new product on the market - LunaDisc, a disc with pliable LED wires for nighttime use - the company must first collect $50,000 to buy the materials.
“We started off collecting funds on Kickstarter (a crowdfunding Web site for creative projects) and we have until Aug. 5. If we reach our goal, we’ll be able to continue helping Mayan women and their families,” Groft said.
According to Steven Cropp, honorary consul of Guatemala in Charlotte, close to 24 North Carolina companies, mostly in the textile field, do business with the Central American country and the bilateral effort benefits both sides “economically and socially.”
“The Mayas are very hardworking people, reliable and noble. They’re experts in this kind of weaving, and letting these women work from home benefits their families and promotes these wonderful artisan crafts,” he told Efe.