In the five and a half years since I started Small Home Big Start I’ve had the opportunity to meet some amazing people and have some awesome experiences, but a couple of weeks ago I got an email from a reader that kind of blew my mind away. Madeline lives in California and works for the surf footwear brand Reef. Every year, the company grants employees one full week of paid time off to volunteer.
Last October Madeline had the opportunity to go to Guatemala to do her volunteer work, in the rural Pacific coast town of El Paredón. She chose to work with a small group of women and teach them how to make surfboard bags and yoga mat bags as a source of income. El Paredón is a surf town with growing tourism, so the market for travellers/yogis/surfers is there.
When she initially set out to do the project she hadn’t sewn in years, so she took a class and started looking for patterns on how to make the bags. Somehow she stumbled upon my Yoga Bag tutorial.
She worked with the women in Guatemala, using instructions from my post and the project has taken off! It has been a few months and they are already selling the yoga mat bags locally, marketing them on the local non profit organization’s website, and selling them on Etsy.
A big thank you goes out to Madeline for letting me know about the impact my tutorial had and about these wonderful women who are making such creative and colourful bags!