KIP TIK IS a Chiapas-based social enterprise dedicated to promoting the development of local Indigenous communities by connecting rural artisans — mostly women — with brands and designers beyond Mexico. It was founded in 2015 by Margarita López Hernández and Guillermo Macías Acosta, who met while working for an NGO that also trained Indigenous women in the traditional weaving techniques of Chiapas, the southernmost state of Mexico.
López Hernández, a Tzotzil woman from Chiapas, is considered to be an expert in weaving within her community. When she and Macías Acosta set out to start Kip Tik, they wanted to break with a pattern established by other NGOs that tried to promote economic development through artisan training but had to leave when their money ran out. Kip Tik’s model is local and more sustainable, with an artisan-centric approach that has training at its core. But they’ve also connected with international brands like Bergdorf Goodman and W Hotels, developing a successful business model that gives back to the community and has meaningfully changed many women’s lives.
For López Hernández, being able to bring these ancient practices into the present through new styles and approaches is a gift. She finds power in knowing that as long as she is doing this work, the craft and her people will endure. “When you are weaving, you leave behind a part of yourself,” she says. “It’s a beautiful feeling.”
This video celebrates the organization's elevation of vivid local designs and their commitment to long-term change in a region where over 70% of the population lives in poverty.
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Former photojournalist Ben Severance is an Emmy Award–winning commercial and film director and editor. He is the founder of bicoastal creative production company Timber + Frame.