While small family businesses are increasingly rare in apparel making and almost unheard of in toy production, this one, run by Javier and Elsa stands apart. Their business grows its own organic cotton, runs its own small-batch sewing factory in Lima, and serves as a central hub for dozens of tiny knitting cooperatives who would never get their products to market without their assistance, expertise, and passion for helping others.
These tiny knitting cooperatives are the birth places for The Joobles – our organic stuffed animals and baby accessories. We like to refer to Javier and Elsa as Los Abuelos de Los Joobles – The Grandparents of The Joobles.
Owing to the harsh winter climate in the highlands, Peru has an abundance of incredibly skilled (and very patient! – see videos below) sweater knitters. But too often these skills don’t translate into sustainable incomes. Javier and Elsa are changing that for dozens of such knitters. Elsa scouts for and hires the artisans, trains them in areas like logistics, inventory management, and quality control, and coordinates production and exportation to Fair Indigo.
Artisans like Irma and Gabriel proudly knit our Huggy the Bear collection. Prior to being hired by Elsa, the couple lived in a shantytown outside of Lima where they had come from the countryside ten years earlier in search of a better life.
The better life didn’t come easily, but since being hired by Elsa, they have upgraded their home two times and now live in a brick house in a neighborhood where both of their children can attend public school – something Irma said was her ultimate dream. She was never able to attend.
The Joobles are finished, inspected, packed, and shipped from Elsa and Javier’s factory in Lima. Here is “smile maker” Maria with her favorite Jooble – Jiffy the Giraffe.
It’s actually breathtaking to think about. In this race-to-the-bottom world, every stitch of every Jooble is made with nothing but hard-working hands arranging and moving needles over yarns. You’ll appreciate that heirloom quality the moment you hold a Jooble in your own hands. And hopefully you’ll smile back knowing it’s provided hope and a better life to another human being too.