Revy was founded in 2009 after a chance encounter between our founder, Ron Ober, and a non-profit organization seeking a way into the American market. Ron was a recently retired entrepreneur, working as a human rights volunteer in Cleveland, Ohio when he connected with CRISPAZ (Christians for Peace in El Salvador) and caught wind of their dilemma: craftspeople in El Salvador wanted to sell their wares in the U.S., but weren’t sure how or where to start. Ron stepped up, offering his unique skill set as a way to get things rolling, and was quickly captivated by the inspiring stories of people striving against adversity to improve their circumstances and elevate their communities. Ron founded Revy Fair Trade shortly thereafter to act as a reliable partner in their endeavors.
For more than a decade, Ron and Mary Ober have worked closely with artisans in El Salvador to bring their creations to fair-minded shoppers. When Ron passed away in November 2019 following a battle with cancer, Mary felt compelled to continue his legacy with Revy Fair Trade.
All workers have the right of association to form their own co-op, receive a living wage, and work without fear of abuse or their own safety. Economic justice and social justice cannot be separated.
Revy provides each co-op with:
- A fair price with cash advances and prompt payments
- Collaboration on designs and production methods
- Transparency by sharing costs and pricing
- Long term relationships with job security
The people of El Salvador are among the most generous and determined you'll find anywhere. Emerging from a civil war, they are striving to improve their daily lives and rebuild their ravaged country. Revy works with individuals and co-ops to help them earn a living wage and provide a brighter future for themselves and their children.
Located in Santa Ana less than an hour from the capital, Alabi Recycling works with found scrap materials. Mario Alabi designs our popular inner-tube belts, wallets, and bags. The inner-tubes are found tossed aside in abundance, the by-product of El Salvador’s common "taxi" trucks that navigate the very rough mountain roads and whose inner-tubes need regular patching -- until they can’t be patched. Mario drives around in his motorcycle with sidecar and gathers them up, bringing them back to his workshop: an industrial washing machine and sewing machines. Once working solo, he now employs a small crew to convert the found rubber scrap into functional and durable accessories. This project both helps the environment and provides jobs in the community.
Alma de Añil
Alma de Añil means “Alma of the Indigo,” aptly named for the proprietor and her favorite dye material. Indigo was one of the major crops in El Salvador before the introduction of artificial dyes in the late 19th century when the entire economy began to collapse and switch to coffee. Today, there's a resurgence in indigo, and Alma’s business is one of the leaders, growing organic indigo on a farm outside Santa Ana, then harvesting and processing the indigo to brew the distinctive blue dye. Utilizing techniques that date back to pre-Spanish occupation, the indigo artisans dye textiles into exciting and beautiful patterns. Alma de Añil employs members of 10 families to tend the indigo crops and complete the crafting process, and provides them with gardening space on the farm for their own food crops as well.
La Mora Jicambú
This co-op is hidden on a backroad near the breathtaking colonial city of Suchitoto. The women here have built a small cinder-block workshop, painted yellow with brightly-colored flowers covering the outer walls, to work on their crafts and create unique jewelry from nature. La Mora Jicambú necklaces primarily use the lightweight shell of the mora gourd, the source of their coop’s name. These young women were only babies when the civil war ended, but they are still living with the legacy of that terrible period. They have worked hard to establish their independent jewelry line, now an important part of their young families’ incomes. It is on women like this that the future of the country depends.
Las Tinecas is the chosen name for the women of this co-op who live in the crowded city of San Martín, a gang-ridden close suburb of the capital city, San Salvador, Some of the women in this co-op are ex-gang members who are now working hard to support their children and provide them with a better life. Their community’s main “road” is an abandoned railroad line. Dirt and grass cover the old rails, and their dirt-floor homes are made of translucent fiberglass or steel panels, supported by poles cut from surrounding trees. They take pride in their homes and their work; over the ten years Revy has known them, several children from the community have completed high school -- not a small feat in El Salvador, where education beyond the eighth grade is not free.
This co-op chose their name, Jaraguá, to describe how they see their cooperative. It comes from a wild, fast-spreading grass that is strong and resilient. Located in the town of Tonacatepeque, they live not far from the growing capital of San Salvador. Working primarily with coconuts to create jewelry, they purchase all of their materials from other local family businesses to create a thriving support system. Taller Jaraguá's mission goes well beyond earning a living wage. Education is one of their main objectives, and proceeds from their sales have enabled them to build a library with donated books. Classes are held in the alleyways of their urban location while still preserving their culture and dignity.