Manos del Uruguay was born in 1968 from a simple question: How can we improve the life of Uruguay’s rural women?
We found the answer in the crafts production, using the knowledge inherited from our mothers and grandmothers and the noble fiber that was abundant in Uruguay’s countryside: wool.
Manos was then founded to give these women jobs that would allow them to provide for their families, be independent and self develop, while staying in their home villages and keeping their roots and traditional skills.
In 1968 five friends, Olga Pardo Santayana de Artagaveytia, Sara Beisso de Souza, Dora Muñoz de Cibils, María del Carmen Bocking and Manila Chaneton de Vivo shared their concern for the hard life and lack of opportunities of rural women.
They planned on selling the simple objects that the women were already making, wool blankets and horse blankets. They sold well and soon they were organizing workshops all around the country.
With the aid of social workers they committed to give the women the necessary tools to organize the production, administrate the cooperatives, deal with suppliers and customers and also the support in the difficult task of balancing work and family.
The founders ´ vision was always that Manos should not only be a work source, but a means of women’s empowerment and development.
Forming leaders that would move the organization forward was a main priority. Manos ´founders were great women that shared a huge work capacity and the conviction that no dream is too big.
Nowadays all of the founders have passed away, but their memory and legacy is still with all of us in Manos.
Manos del Uruguay has a social aim and we are a Non for profit organization.
We are organized in 12 cooperatives, each one is a workshop located in a small village of Uruguay’s countryside.
The artisans are the owners of the company and Manos ´ profits are shared among the cooperatives or re-invested in the organization. The cooperatives have strong bonds with the communities where they are inserted, having a positive impact in society and families is very important for us.
John Lennon in Time Magazine with a sweater knitted at our cooperatives - December 22nd 1980
Robert Redford with a sweater from Manos makes the cover of Journal Magazine October 1980.
Each cooperative is also a small enterprise, where the women have both the role of artisans and administrators.
The artisans are the leaders of the organization. They choose their representatives for the directors board, with elections every 2 years. Representatives of every cooperative meet annually, to make decisions about the whole organization.
Gabriela Cabrera is Manos del Uruguay ´s President since 2014. She has been a member of CAS cooperative, in Egaña, Soriano - her hometown- for 30 years
Teresita Piñeyro is Manos vice-president. She has been part of CAFLODUR cooperative, in the small town of Sarandí Grande, Florida, for 23 years.
Maribel Mendez, is the Directors board´s secretary. She is part of COARMO cooperative, located in Carlos Reyles (still known by it’s its old name: Molles) in the department of Durazno.She is part of Manos for the past 25 years
Our ethical way
Manos del Uruguay is a member of the WFTO, World Fair Trade Organization since 2009.
Fair Trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade.
As a Fair Trade organization, we are engaged in supporting producers, raising awareness and in campaigning for changes in the rules and practice of international trade.
Proud to be Uruguayan
We are devoted to taking care of the crafts and traditions of our land. We enjoy working with the materials that we have at hand: wool, leather, wood, horn.
We want to revisit, honor and challenge Uruguay´s iconography through the garments and objects that we create.
From our origins, we have contributed with shapes, colors and textures, that through the years, have helped shape Uruguay’s culture.
Working with the world’s top brands
Manos del Uruguay high standards of quality have granted us international recognition.
Our products are required by high end brands such as Polo Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs, Gabriela Hearst, Dries Van Notten, Jazmín Chebar, Peruvian Connection and Stella McCartney among others.
Collaborating with these brands ´ Design and Production teams is a challenge that impulses us to be in constant evolution.
From its origins, Manos del Uruguay was organized as a cooperative space to promote and give value to the local crafts.
Manos has worked to support and encourage independent artisans from all over the country, betting on creative development, quality and strengthening of cultural identities.
The artisans find in Manos a place to develop knowledge, sensibilities and skills.
In our stores you can find quality crafts from different workshops made of local materials such as wood, ceramics, leather, wool, guampa or mate