Supporting sustainable economic development
and direct trade in Guatemala

The Artisans

Click on the different tabs to learn more about the local, talented artisans with whom As Green As It Gets works. Workshops are offered with the artisans, click here for more information. 

  • Claudia-resized

    Claudia Lopez is the daughter of Silvia, who makes a variety of skin care products. Claudia has recently joined her mother in the causemetics business, making scented hand sanitizer. She is excited for the opportunity to help her mother in supporting her family.

    Although Claudia is still in high school, she uses some of her free time to make this product to provide more money for her siblings. Claudia realized that there was a market for all natural hand sanitizer because people want to be clean when soap and water aren't available, and not use a lot of chemicals doing so. She is looking to expand her sales in Antigua and online in the future.

    Interested in making your own natural causemetics? Click on the link above to learn about our workshops.

  • angelica 2

    Angelica Gonzalez's first product was embroidered tablecloths. She was an artist with a simple treadle machine, able to make very elaborate designs, but without a market to sell to. With AGAIG, we were able to sell one tablecloth before giving up and moving onto a more sellable product, woven purses. Angelica is an excellent seamstress, but her style of woven purses never quite caught on. We gave up on that idea, and she turned her leftover materials into the most expensive shower curtain ever seen in San Miguel Escobar.

    Undaunted, she started making burlap tote bags using recycled coffee sacks. They caught on, and sales grew. Female volunteers gave a hand in designing new styles. Sales went through the roof.

    Today, Angelica's bags are featured in Antigua retail stores. She now owns seven sewing machines and produces approximately 3,000 totes per year. With the success of her business, Angelica has hired eight employees, most of whom are moms, working from their homes and able to earn twice minimum wage. She is a legal sole proprietor with a legalized accounting system and tax payer ID number. She maintains inventory of both finished products and raw materials. She is the head of production, quality control, accounting, and human resources.

    Angelica has been financially independent from As Green As It Gets for nearly two years and periodically exports to the United States.

    Want to meet Angelica and learn how to make your own customized burlap messenger bag? Click on the link above to learn about our workshops.

  • Elvia-copy-artisan

    Elvia Minas crafts her purses from huipil garments formerly worn by women in the villages surrounding her hometown in San Miguel Escobar. Elvia uses various aspects of the original huipil embroidery to create a unique design for each purse. She does all of her own seamstress work and is continually expanding her range of purse styles.

    Elvia has five years of experience working as a seamstress and sews clothes for herself and members of her family. She has completed a specialized seamstress training course in addition to her grade school diploma.

    If you've always wanted to learn how to sew, or are already an experienced seamstress and want to learn about Guatemalen textiles, click on the link above to learn about our workshops.

  • Mayra-copy

    Mayra Mendez produces her own soap as a side business to support her family. Unlike most of the artisans working with As Green As It Gets, Mayra and her family live in a very rural area at the top of a mountain, not very close to Antigua. This means work is limited and Mayra is always looking for ways to help her five children and husband.

    Very soon, her soap will be made completely locally. The base and essential oils are already produced locally and once she begins making her own lye water, all the ingredients will be made in the valley where she lives.

    Interested in making your own natural causemetics? Click on the link above to learn about our workshops.

  • Carlos-copy-work

    Carlos Diaz joined As Green As It Gets in late 2006, where he found markets for his products and turned a pastime into a profitable business venture. When he started, he was making three dimensional butterflies and dragonflies. Ever the artist, he branched out to include ladybugs, grasshoppers, roosters and snails. Soon after, he added removable stakes so the insects could appear flying in gardens. Then he added two dimensional iguanas for wall hangings and three dimensional wrought-iron iguanas. Everytime he came to a market, he had a new product or new idea in process.

    Carlos and As Green As It Gets are now offering an artisan workshop which includes a “Make your own iguana” class for tourists in Guatemala. He has redesigned his iguana so that clients, even those without years of metal working experience, can make a decorative wall hanging. If iguanas aren’t your thing, he also offers the opportunity to make an owl instead. Click on the link above to learn about our workshops.

  • Silvia-resized

    Silvia Lopez and her family work hard to support themselves, mainly by washing cars and operating a two-table diner. Now she’s also producing skin care products from all-natural ingredients grown and produced in her own town, San Miguel Escobar.

    Silvia makes different types of lotions including face, hand, foot, and body. During her cosmetic workshop, she not only demonstrates how she makes her products but also provides guests with a custom-made lotion of their choice. She is excited about the prospect of breaking into the local organic causemetics market in Antigua and would like to sell her lotions online in the future.

    Interested in meeting Silvia and making your own natural cosmetics? Click on the link above to learn about our workshops.

  • Francisco and Odillia-resized1

    Francisco Zuñiga has 40 years of experience working with jade and has been featured in National Geographic and the books Jade and Jades of Mesoamerica. Francisco has pioneered several jade crafting tools and is one of the masters of his trade. Over the years, Francisco has found more than 30 distinct shades of green jade in addition to various degrees of black and white jade. His favorite color is “sandia” (watermelon) and he has only ever found one rock of this kind. Francisco holds a jade certification license and sets each jade piece in his own sterling silver. He cuts, shapes, sands, engraves and polishes his pieces using a combination of tools he developed by customizing a grinder and dentist drill. It takes several days for Francisco to bring a jade rock down from the mountains and it can take years of searching before he finds a jadeite rock of the right color. Francisco spends four to five hours cutting and shaping a rock, and then one full day is spent sanding, engraving and polishing a detailed piece. Francisco works at his home in the village of San Juan Del Obispo and supports his wife Odilia, his son Freddy, his daughter Rosita and his wife’s family. If you'd like to meet the mystical Francisco and partake in one of his jade workshops, click on the link above to learn about our workshops.

  • Maria-benita-3-resized

    Maria Benita joined the As Green As It Gets family two years ago as a small business owner. She sells her homemade lip balm locally in Antigua and online to customers internationally. This business has allowed her to fund her education and help out with the education of her siblings.

    Her father Filiberto is part of the coffee farmer’s cooperative, growing, processing and selling coffee in addition to giving tours. Maria Benita saw her parent’s strong work ethic and desire to produce quality products and has managed to turn her drive to go further in her studies into a successful business with an all-natural product. Now that she has graduated high school, Maria Benita’s goal is to continue her education to work in tourism and hotel management.

    Interested in making your own natural causemetics? Click on the link above to learn about our workshops.

  • Roberto-caro

    Roberto Barrera takes sustainably- harvested timber and turns it into furniture and artisan crafts. Roberto has been working with wood for more than half his life. His shop is basic; a homemade table saw, a donated band saw, a router and assorted hand tools. That’s enough for him to make doors, furniture and cabinets; stable products that allow him to support his wife and three children. His photo frames, are some of his most popular products.

    As Green As It Gets is helping Roberto market his products. We're offering custom-made rocking chairs and preparing them for export. We're working with him to legalize his sole proprietorship and obtain registration as a user of sustainably-harvested timber. These are important first steps towards being able to export his products.

    We now offer a “Make your ownazafate” tour, inviting tourists into his workshop to make a serving tray made from mahogany, glass, and local weavings.

    Click on the link above to learn about our workshops.