Yesterday, at The Podium, Rags2Riches held their very first "Decorate Your Own R2R Bag Workshop"-- with patches and appliqués and the skill of their R2R artisan weavers!
I was looking forward to an afternoon of design and style. I had that, and I went home with so much more. I had such an inspiring encounter with the R2R artisans!
The woven panels that evolve into the bags and wallets we love are produced by hand by these home-based women artisan weavers. There are now ten different communities of weavers: they are in Parañaque, Malate, Payatas, Batasan Hills, Tondo, Taytay, Novaliches and Caloocan. They are taught and trained to weave the cloth panels which eventually give rise to the popular R2R pouches, bags, and wallets. These women are very skilled, and also very creative. They were giving me suggestions on design. They attached my appliques quickly, and their work was very "clean". They knew their own products so well -- the colors, the styles, their uses. And they were even directing me to give comments on their website about my inputs and ideas for other workshops in the future.
I also learned that the artisan weavers are given classes in values-formation and financial education by R2R and its partners to mold them into well-rounded, empowered workers who will be able to give themselves and their families better lives.
My daughters and I love our R2R stuff. They're pretty and practical and eco-ethical. And it's great to know that they come from a company that is truly connected with our society. A company that has a hand in offering others opportunities to grow with pride as they create stylish products while learning and earning to advance their lives. The R2R artisan weavers are such a motivated and skilled group. They are truly an inspiration, even to their customers. And I am now, without a doubt, an ardent R2R advocate.
Shop online at their site: rags2riches.ph.