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MayaBags: Where Fashion Meets Fair Trade Artistry

MayaBags is where high-end fashion meets fair trade artistry at the end of a dusty road off the air strip in Punta Gorda, Belize. Shoppers approaching the combination workshop and store might encounter a Maya woman in a pastel colored dress weaving on the front porch, working steadily on hand made details with an artist’s eye passed down from her ancestors for millennia, creating beautiful purses that have been sold in Barney’s department stores for seven years and recommended by style icon Rachel Zoe.

Judy Bergsma, owner and founder of MayaBags, and a Texas native and New York resident, decided to turn her background in visual design into an effort to help lift Maya families in southern Belize out of poverty and to develop an income generating alternative to slash and burn farming, one purse at a time.

Ms. Bergsma, spoke with us via email about finding inspiration in the rain forest, a typical day in the life of a modern Maya woman, and the bus schedule in Belize.

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