Since 2009, the Pulsera Project has sought to bring Fair Trade pulseras from Central America to U.S. classrooms at the lowest possible cost that doesn’t compromise our Fair Trade principles, and for the past thirteen years, we've been able to keep that price consistent at $5.
Starting Summer 2022 for the first time in the project’s history, we are raising the price of pulseras from $5 to $7 and bolsitas from $10 to $15. This difficult decision is motivated by a number of factors, but the simplest reason is that we need to raise the price in order to maintain our Fair Trade commitments, paying artists higher wages that not only give them a living wage, but also allow for economic mobility.
There are essentially three factors driving this decision – our commitment to the artists we work with to pay them a fair wage, inflation costs, and the project’s long-term vision.
During the pandemic, we had to dramatically reduce pulsera purchases in order to keep the project financially viable. In the wake of COVID, the economic devastation to the communities we work with in Central America has been severe, and our goal is to benefit as many artists as we possibly can.
This means paying higher costs for materials due to inflation, but also higher wages, as the cost of living everywhere is on the rise. In economically marginalized communities, the benefits of regular employment are essential now more than ever.
Prices are increasing for every part of our organization, from the cost of materials to shipping to the boxes we send things in. While we still remain committed to an ethic of frugality, these increased costs would compromise our capacity to grow and help other organizations if we didn’t raise pulsera prices.
As The Pulsera Project has started to bounce back from the effects of COVID-19 on both sides of the project, the majority of new partnerships we're forming are in Guatemala, taking some of the focus off of Nicaragua where historically the lion's share of our partnerships have been. Looking ahead beyond 2022, we're hoping to find new partnerships in Mexico too, as well as a range of other Central American countries.
There are two main motivations for this – we want to bring the full range of Central America’s artistic and cultural diversity into classrooms in the United States, and this enables us to achieve that while benefiting many more artists. We also do this because, after focusing the majority of our work there for thirteen years, the current political climate in Nicaragua makes it unreliable to continue basing our operations there.
We will continue to work with artists in Nicaragua and it will always be the place the project was born, but as the project grows we'll increasingly have a broader regional focus.
By moving into new countries, we also have to accommodate their economic realities, and the cost of living in each of these countries is higher than Nicaragua. As a result, we may in some cases be paying artists as much as 50% more to maintain the relative pay at our Fair Trade standards.
We know that using cash is much easier when it's being done with $5 increments. To ease the transition to the $7 price, we'll be expanding our ability to accept payments via Venmo during your sale. More details on that will be forthcoming, but for now an overview can be seen at www.pulseraproject.org/venmo.
As always, please feel free out via email at email@example.com with any questions or concerns. We're so grateful for your support, and we're looking forward to working with many of you this upcoming school year!