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How can design services empower local cooperative.

From Uruguay to New York´s catwalk

Photo of Angeles Sánchez Neira
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At the end of each summer my mother took me to buy wool garments to Manos del Uruguay, she liked the natural wool, the colors and also finding in each label the name of the person that had knitted the product.

Last month I found an interview about them in the french magazine Marie Claire so I called my mum to share the news , Manos del Uruguay was working for Prada , Ralph Lauren , Stella Mc Cartney, and other top designers ,we both felt happy to know about their success because we knew that they really deserved it.

Manos del Uruguay is a non profit social organization which since 1968 has provided jobs for craftmen living in Uruguay rural areas. They work all craft techniques necessary to develop wool garments from knitting with needles to manual knitting machines, looms , croquet, etc. They have different shops in Uruguay, they sell abroad and also now they are working with leading companies.

I think that the most interesting thing about Manos del Uruguay is how they have develop a strategy to work in the International Market for leading companies which demand the highest quality .

As they explain in their web for the development of products for the external market, Manos del Uruguay designers meet several times throughout the year with the clients design teams, to jointly develop the different models. This is a very intense work where Manos technical department transforms the design ideas into real garments, in an enriching exchange that encourages them to utilize Manos´s techniques in different and creative ways, and that allows  clients to have special and unique products.

For Manos del Uruguay their success in exports is based as much on the quality of its products as well as on the design services it provides.


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Photo of Benjamin Hoffman

Very nice post Angeles! What I would be interested in learning more about is how Manos del Uruguay started financially, how they accessed the funds, and finally how they managed the funds once they recieved them. It seems like in order to secure business and insure quality as well as product when working with leading companies, they would need access to capital. Do you know how they went about this? Did they have an external source of funding? (Angels or venture captial?) Or did they use loans, community groups or local sources of funding to build their business?

Photo of Angeles Sánchez Neira

Benjamín I will check it in their web or write them an email

Photo of Shane Zhao

Thanks for the share on Manos del Uruguay Angeles! You might also be interested to check out this post on micro manufacturing is creating local jobs in South Africa:

Also here's a helpful Tip: to activate links in your post, hit the Edit Contribution button at the top of your post . Scroll down to your Full Description field. Select the text you'd like to link, hit the link icon in the Rich Text Editor at the top of this field and enter your link. That way everyone will be able to check it out easily, straight from your post.

Photo of Angeles Sánchez Neira

Thanks Shane , I will read the post about micromanufacturing , and also thank you for telling me how to include the link.

Photo of Shane Zhao

Glad to have you in the challenge Angeles!