Capacity building for indigenous artisan women in rural Mexico

Provide skills and a commercial output for women artisans who want achieve economic autonomy through their ancestral trade.

Photo of Cristina Rangel
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  • Yes, I fulfill all of the eligibility criteria.

Initiative's representative name

Cristina Rangel

Initiative's representative date of birth

September 5th, 1984

Initiative’s representative gender

  • Woman

Which eligible market are you based in?

  • Mexico

Where are you making a difference?

We work with different groups of artisans throughout Mexico in 18 different communities.

Website or social media url(s)

When was your organisation founded?


Focus areas

  • Helping people adapt to technologies of the future
  • Reskilling and upskilling the workforce

Project Stage

  • Established (successfully passed early phases, have a plan for the future)

Yearly Budget: How much capital do you need to accomplish your proposed project?

  • $100k - $250k

Organisation Type

  • Hybrid

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this to succeed

Twelve years ago Carla began to work on developing textile handicrafts in Oaxaca and Chiapas. The mission was to help indigenous women come up with new designs to improve the product supply that the market was demanding. After arriving it was clear that cultural differences meant that teaching them to make garments that the western market was demanding was going to be a very hard task. Carla came to understand that the natural thing to do was use the methods the communities already knew well. Carla had to observe very closely in order to understand their endemic systems. This was how the methodology behind Taller Flora emerged, with a platform that was above all visual and based on location.

2. The problem: What problem surrounding employability or financial capability are you helping to solve?

The current structure of the fashion industry does not include artisans in the creative or productive process. This system, amongst other things, has created an economic and cultural void in artisanal, frequently indigenous, communities in Mexico where economic poverty prevails and where ancestral traditions are at risk of being lost.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

Taller Flora A.C. is the sister organization of the Carla Fernandez fashion brand. Jointly, these organizations work in creative and productive collaboration with the artisans of Mexico and reconcile the rapid processes of fashion production and demand with the laborious artisanal processes through capacity building in design and entrepreneurship. With this, artisans are able to incorporate themselves into the workforce, become economically independent whilst receiving a fair and stable pay for their work. Additionally, they are able to rescue ancestral traditions that are being lost because of lack of demand of their work.

4. How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solving the problem?

Taller Flora is a mobile design laboratory that travels from one indigenous community to the next, offering design and quality workshops specifically to groups of women who work in textiles. The approach consists of using a method endemic to Mexican indigenous garments and its potential for creating new designs. We have called this system of clothes making, derived from the backstrap loom, the Square Root (because it is assembled from squares and rectangles, and uses this geometry as a base for making clothing; and because these shapes have been used since Prehispanic times and are part of our roots). By using this method, we learn to speak the same language and begin a process of collaboration.

5. Employability: how is your organization or project teaching people to develop the skills that they need to survive in the future job market?

Artisans are, more and more, excluded from the economy because their products and services are being replaced by similar products that are mass made. Design and quality control workshops, alongside entrepreneurship workshops, allow artisans to reinsert themselves into the economy by becoming part of the value chain of the creative industry which, more and more, is relying on their unique trade knowledge to offer differentiated products to the market. Taller Flora's workshops, focused particularly on textile and fashion, provide a skillset to artisans that allow for the to become permanent suppliers for a growing and established fashion design brand like Carla Fernandez.

5a. Please describe which future-oriented skills your organization is focused on fostering and how you have measured / plan to measure progress

We focus on women's economic autonomy to indigenous women by offering a skill set that ranges from more market appropriate design to skills on how to become a formal micro business. The number of women that participate in our workshops is a measure of progress but the number of women that ultimately become part of the value chain is a measure of success.

7. Marketplace: Who else is addressing the same problem? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are many organizations in Mexico who are focused on doing this same work in communities. The large difference is that Taller Flora is the sister organization to Carla Fernandez, the leading fashion label in Mexico with a guaranteed demand for the products that can be produced in communities.

8. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

We currently work with more than 150 artisans in 18 different communities in 8 different states in Mexico.

10. Team

The company has 20 full time employees, 3 board members and two directors. We are looking to expand the nonprofit team to add a grant writer and, depending on the projects that we are able to fund, we will hire the appropriate capacitors for the job.

Help Us Support Diversity! Are you a member of an under-served , under-represented, or marginalized group in your country of residence? (yes/no) (this question is optional – if you choose to fill it out, the response will not be shared with your fellow contestants)

  • Gender

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Ashoka page or contact

Evaluation results

4 evaluations so far

1. OVERALL Evaluation:

Yes, absolutely! - 50%

Yes/maybe - 50%

Maybe - 0%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%

2. Is this entry INNOVATIVE?

Yes, absolutely! - 50%

Yes/maybe - 50%

Maybe - 0%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%

3. Does this entry have SOCIAL IMPACT?

Yes, absolutely! - 75%

Yes/maybe - 25%

Maybe - 0%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%

4. Is this entry VIABLE financially and operationally?

Yes, absolutely! - 0%

Yes/maybe - 100%

Maybe - 0%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%


Yes, absolutely! - 50%

Yes/maybe - 50%

Maybe - 0%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%

6. FEEDBACK: Highlights

IMPACT POTENTIAL: You use specific numbers and evidence to describe what your project has achieved so far (or plan to achieve in the future) – and you have a concrete plan for future impact. You have specific tools for measuring impact. - 100%

QUALITY OF INNOVATION: You have a great understanding of the problem, have researched existing solutions, and have developed unique, thoughtful solutions - 66.7%

FINANCIAL AND OPERATIONAL SUSTAINABILITY: You have given a great deal of thought to not just the idea itself but how to make it work operationally and financially in the present and future; your plan is specific and you value sustainability. - 0%

CHANGEMAKING ACTIVATION: You have a good plan on how to activate changemakers and empower them to innovate through your product or programming - 33.3%

Other option - 0%

7. FEEDBACK: Areas for Improvement

IMPACT POTENTIAL: make sure to provide specific instances of your social impact (or how you plan to measure impact) – it may be helpful to describe the beneficiaries, the main activities/products, and provide evidence of (or plan for) impact evaluation - 33.3%

QUALITY OF INNOVATION: make sure to describe how your solution is unique and innovative – it is helpful to include the research you have done on past solutions and how your solution is different from (and/or builds upon) these. - 33.3%

FINANCIAL AND OPERATIONAL SUSTAINABILITY: make sure you have provided descriptive information about your financial sustainability plan. Where do the funds come from now and do you have a concrete plan for future sustainability? - 100%

CHANGEMAKING ACTIVATION: make sure you describe your plan for how to empower others to become changemakers through your programming, service, or product - 33.3%

WRITING STYLE. Try to be concise, descriptive, and specific. Avoid jargon. - 0%

Nothing stands out! I thought it was great. - 33.3%

Other option - 0%


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