Personal power and money - How to remain ethical in today's business world.

Money is an expression of personal power. What we spend our money on is what we invest our personal power in. If we care about where we invest our personal power, we need to look not only at the end product and its cost, but also at the manufacturing processes and the people that do the work.

First, is there even a definition of ethical? How far does it go? Here are a few questions that we can ask ourselves if we want to be "ethical": What is the quality of the artisans' work life? How vulnerable are they in today's economy? Are they getting paid fairly for their hard work? What can we do to respect them? What can we learn from them? Many more questions could be asked about "ethical".

Carlos Aguera upcycles traditional huipiles (blouses) in Chiapas.

In these times we are so accustomed to instant gratification due to the advancement of technology. And so too consumer goods are mass produced at an ever increasing rate. Yes, we could have cotton and wool backpacks, bags and household items machine-manufactured in China or India for example. And probably for a much less investment cost and a much quicker turnaround time. Yet that is not the opportunity that life has offered us and we are not attracted to this kind of business. We have no intention of competing with industrial processes.

Gloria Mendoza Luis is the Hazaña and Sakado weaver.
A true master-weaver who earned prizes at fine weaving competitions.

Purchasing high quality, handwoven, many times hand-dyed, and hand-sewn products from Mexico and Colombia is a step into the past. The pace is a little bit slower in Latin America. A slower pace is more natural to the human being and this should be respected as a healthy way of life. Work gets done, but not in a frantic way. We learn from these artisans. We find out that we in the Western world have forgotten or even denied some basic values in life. Luckily there are still enough wise artisans left in this world for us to learn how to review our values. They teach us by example. Let's just observe them. No classes needed.

Automated machinery have a high accuracy rate of repeatability. They churn out identical products over and over. With handwoven products each item is unique and no two similar items are exactly identical. The weavers are also very creative and act upon inspiration, which gives birth to something new. They really care about the quality of their products. They love what they do and infuse love into their work. They adapt to the needs of the customers too. Modernity meets and respects tradition this way. Wouldn’t you rather invest your personal power into a product born out of pure human creativity?

Money is also energy. Not only what we spend our money on but also how we create financial wealth and abundance tells us about ourselves and our personalities. At we care about what we sell and how we sell it as it is an expression of who we are. This is how we proceed at Pazeña: we do not bargain the artisans' prices. They know how much they need to charge, and we respect their price. We know they are honest. We pay 50% of their fee before they start, and the rest when they are ready to ship it. We are trying to be the change we want to see in the world and we think we can make it this way.

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