Maya Select is a US and Guatemala based company that was started in 2003 by two former Peace Corps volunteers, Greg Van Kirk and George Glickley. Currently Greg and George live and work in Guatemala, working with artisan groups, sourcing new products and arranging logistics. The US side of the company is administered by Mary and Philip Van Kirk. And website design is handled by George's brother, Jason.
The goals of Maya Select are as follows:
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|Many inquire whether we are a for profit company. We are. After having worked in development for four years now we have learned that the only way to create true sustainability is to ensure that everyone involved is appropriately compensated for their work. Everyone has an opportunity cost. However, we do not seek profits at the expense of the artisans. To the contrary, we work our hardest to make sure that all artisans are compensated fairly for their work. We could in fact buy many of the products you see on this site for lower prices from the artisans. But we choose not to. As first and foremost we are development workers, we analyze the pricing on all of the products that we purchase so that we can be confident that the hard-working and talented artisans receive their fair share.|
|What you see on this site is the culmination of four years of work. Seeking out, buying and delivering products from mostly illiterate artisans living in disparate regions of Guatemala is extremely difficult work. An artisan may have a great product but the pricing is too high for the US market. Or the artisan cannot deliver consistent quality. Or the artisan has no access to a phone so we have to travel to visit the artisan. Or the artisan doesn't have a bank account. Or there is no access to the necessary raw materials. Or, as often happens, what we order is not what we end up receiving. The reason you do not see more of the great products from Guatemalan artisans here in the US is because there are so many obstacles on the road to success that most people simply give up and move on to other ventures.|
|But as you can see, the artisan work is amazing. And most importantly, the people are amazing. What you are buying comes directly from the hands of the great people whose pictures you see on this website. And for most, Maya Select is their only source of real income. Giving a donation is one thing. But actually buying a product from someone is true development. By buying products from Maya Select you are in participating in very intelligent third world development. And we all thank you!|
|Finally, we donate $1 from every sale to Community Enterprise Solutioins. This is a not for profit that was started by Greg and George to help create jobs and provide educational resources to the people of the highlands region of Guatemala. Please visit our site to learn more about our activities.|