SAPIA Fair Trading Partner

SFTP Team

 

Profile of CONTIGO´s partner Sapia

Products

Bogotá to Goettingen (Source: Google Earth)

Bogotá to Göttingen (Source: Google Earth)

  • Decorations made of natural materials
  • Jewellery made of tagua nuts and other seeds
  • Semi-precious stones and metal charms bracelets
  • Bag and accessories made of vegan materials (Doña Rosa)
  • Jewellery made of resin and semi-precious stones (Diazgranados)
  • Precolumbian gold plated jewellery (Arque Arte)
  • Natural fiber hats (Montezuma)
  • Gourd jewellery (Fussioni)

Products from Doña Rosa, Diazgranados, Arque Arte, Montezuma and Fussioni are routed through Sapia.

Location

Bogotá, Colombia – distance to Europe: 8,400km

Founded in 1997

  • 1997: Piel Acida was founded by Ana Maria Piedrahita
  • 2009: Sapia was founded (through a merger of Piel Acida and Salvarte)
  • 2014: Restructuring of the company, SAPIA Fair Trading Partner (SFTP) is responsible for artisans, production and export, El Market operates exclusively as retailer chain
  • SFTP is CONTIGO’s trading partner

History

  • Ana Maria, a medical doctor by training, experiments in her free time with orange peels and crafts little dolls
  • Turns her hobby into a job
  • At first production begins at her home and she dries orange peels in her parents´ backyard
  • Continuous increase of production, a furnace is purchased
  • 1997: Founding of Piel Acida following successful participation in Bogotá trade fair
  • At first, neighbours and friends collect orange peels for Piel Acida, but soon this is no longer enough – supplies are bought from juice makers
  • 1999: Javier Cardenas becomes an employee, as an industrial engineer he optimises the production chain
  • Within a short amount of time, production grows ten-fold
  • 2000: First international trade fair visit where orange peel dolls are soldSapia30
  • 2002: CONTIGO meets Piel Acida
  • 2002: CONTIGO orders orange peel dolls and other products made out of peels (this is the first big order for Piel Acida)
  • 2003: Development of new collection: jewellery made from Tagua
  • 2009: Piel Acida merges with Salvarte (a national chain of handicrafts shops) and becomes “Sapia”
  • Now both national and international markets can be accessed by Sapia
  • Merger led to employment of more workers, a better production chain, higher productivity
  • Production is moved to larger production facilities where furnaces are in separate rooms
  • Ana Maria, who is in charge of designing at Sapia, works closely with Greta Herbst (CONTIGO´s designer) to develop products for the European market
  • 2010 and 2011: Sapia visits Germany and makes several presentations at CONTIGO shops and in world shops
  • 2012: Sapia pays study fees for three students that work at Sapia and that will be employed full-time by Sapia after finishing their university degrees
  • 2012: two new “El Market” stores are opened (total of 4 in 2012)
  • 2013: Sapia moves to a building with three floors
  • Number of Sapia’s “El Market” shops grows to 6 in total
    • 4 shops at the Bogotá airport
    • 2 more “El Market” shops at the airports in Cartagena and Medellin
  • 2014: Two El Market shops are opened (in Mexico and Puerto Rico)
  • 2014: The founding companies of Sapia (Salvarte and Piel Acida) are starting to operate more independently from each other. Sapia Fair Trading Partner (SFTP) is responsible for production and export whereas “El Market” is the steering company for the retail businesses
  • SFTP has an independent management, separate facilities and employees
  • SFTP is partner and supplier of CONTIGO
  • 2015: Six more El Market shops are opened: Three national and three international shops, 12 shops in total
  • 2018: Six more El Market shops are opened in Spain (Madrid and Canarias)

Cooperation with CONTIGO since 2002

Structure of the business

Number of employees: 

The people in and around Sapia (SFTP):

  • Direct employees: 55 (29 women, 26 men)
  • “Satellites”: Seasonal workers who work at their homes and are paid by piece: 7 women
  • Partner workshops who manufacture and finish complete products for Sapia: 60 (37 women, 23 men)
    • At Doña Rosa: 26 employees + (depending on order situation) 13 home workers and two other workshops
    • At Montezuma: 5 employees + cooperation with external workshops (up to 30 weavers, depending on order situation)
    • At Arque Arte: 3 employees + 2 home workers
    • At Diazgranados: 4 employees
    • At Fussioni: 8 employees

Organisation of workforce:

  • Director SFTP: Javier Cardenas Muller
  • Head of exports and quality management:  Andrea Alvarez

Work enviroment

A) Central workshop from SFTP: three-storey building

  • Ground floor: warehouse for “El Market” shops, shipping
  • First floor: production of samples, production of orange peel items, quality control, drying of tagua and orange peel, offices for accounting department and export department, three meeting rooms (for trainings as well)
  • Second floor: offices for “El Market” employees, two meeting rooms with a TV and communal kitchen with microwave oven

B) “Satellites” – home workers

  • 7 women
  • Tasks: assembling of jewellery pieces
  • Payment every 15 days

C) External partner workshops:

Doña Rosa – own page 

Montezuma – own page

Arque Arte – company profile:

  • Location: Bogotá, northeast quarter Usaquen
  • Manager: Oscar Jaime Santa
  • Employees: 3 permanent, 2 female home workers
  • Work organisation:
    • Production of pendants and ear hangers at the central workshop
    • Assembling of the necklaces is done at home by the two home workers
  • Materials: gold comes from “Fair mined” certified gold mines (“fair mined” licence)
  • Background information: In 2008 Oscar Jaime Santa took over the workshop from his aunt and is still producing the Pre-Colombian gol plated jewellery.
  • Sales: predominantly to souvenir shops, museum of Pre-Colombian gold jewellery in Bogotá, only a small quantity is exported to Australia, Mexico, the Philippines and Germany
  • Payment:
    • Home workers receive piece rate
    • Permanent employees: receive 15 % more than the Colombian miminum wage (COP 828.116 / month) and all statutory compensations:
      • Payment of the 13th monthly salary (“cesantía”): this is paid directly into a state pension fund at the beginning of the year. The interest of this salary (12%) is directly paid out to the employee.
      • Payment of the 14th salary / holiday bonus (“prima de servicios”)
      • Transport allowance is paid (COP 97.032 / month) on top of the salary
      • Overtime is remunerated in accordance with statutory regulations
  • Social benefits for all permanent / salaried employees:
    • Health insurance: employer pays 8,5 % and employee pays 4 % of monthly gross wage
    • Pension fund: employer pays 12%, employee pays 4% of monthly gross wage
    • Continued payment of wage in case of sickness, accidents and maternity leave (statutory regulations)
    • Paid leave (20 national and religious holidays, plus 15 recreation days)
    • All employees are covered by Arque Arte´s accident insurance
    • On the total amount of her salary costs Arque Arte pays social contributions to the following institutions (statutory): the national vocational training service SENA (Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje), the national family aid organisation ICBF (Instituto Colombiano de Bienestar Familiar), and to various family recreation centres (Cajas de Compensación Familiar)

Sales

  • Home market (89.5%) through “El market” shops
  • 10.5% exports through SFTP to the U.S., Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Canada, Australia, Panama and Puerto Rico

Goals

  • To develop quality craftsmanship in Colombia
  • To financially support employees that go to university
  • To employ a higher number of Colombian designers
  • To form partnerships with more suppliers from different industries (tagua workshops, leather workshops, tanneries, etc.)
  • To process more natural and eco-friendly materials, combined with competitive global design and quality
  • To expand and to look for new customers groups who understand, support and apply fair trade principles
  • To further expand the gifts category to new customers (as Sapia acquired many experiences with their El Market shops)

Special features

  • 2012/2013: an emergency plan is introduced to support employees and their families in the case money is needed for medication, operations, maids (in case of sickness when no one can take care of the household)
  • 2015: Human resource department grows in order to be more conscious of the employees needs
  • 2018: Human resource department establishes more health and wellness activities for the employees (relaxing massages, nutrition guides, dental brigades)

Why does CONTIGO work with Sapia: Amazing development of the company has taken place and a long-lasting, close partnership with CONTIGO has been developed. They are very committed to Fair Trade and innovation. CONTIGO has established strong personal ties with them.

 

Fairtrade classification

FTA PLUS = Fairtrade Approved PLUS

 

Fairtrade aspects

Sapia22

Sapia complies with the following Fairtrade Principles:

No child labour

No discrimination

No discrimination due to gender, disability, religion, ethnicity, sexual-orientation, political orientation, or infection with HIV

In Sapia people of many different ethnic groups cooperate

Fair wages

  • Minimum wage in Columbia: COP 828,116 / month (COP= Colombian Peso)
  • Minimum wages at SFTP: min. COP 1.129.335 / month
    • Fixed salaries for all departments
    • Salaries are paids out last Friday of the month through wire transfer
  • Bonus payments (or non cash benefits) for very committed employees
  • SFTP pays the statutory compensations for their salaried employees
    • Payment of the 13th monthly salary (“cesantía”): this is paid directly into a state pension fund at the beginning of the year. The interest of this salary (12%) is directly paid out to the employee.
    • Payment of the 14th salary / holiday bonus (“prima de servicios”)
    • Transport allowance is paid (COP 97.032 / month)
    • Overtime is remunerated in accordance with statutory regulations
  • New working gear paid for twice a year

Humane working conditions

Working hours:
Sapia2

  • Usual working time: 40 h per week.
  • Can be enhanced to 48 h per week, if needed, according to the Columbian labour laws
  • Hours above 48 hours are counted as overtime, for which additional surcharges are paid
  • 5 days/week

Social benefits:

SFTP pays the statutory compensations for their salaried employees:

  • Health insurance: employer pays 8,5 % and employee pays 4 % of monthly gross wage
  • Pension fund: employer pays 12%, employee pays 4% of monthly gross wage
  • Continued payment of wage in case of sickness, accidents and maternity leave (statutory regulations)
  • Paid leave (20 national and religious holidays, plus 15 recreation days)
  • All employees are covered by SFTP´s accident insurance
  • On the total amount of her salary costs SFTP pays social contributions to the following institutions (statutory): the national vocational training service SENA (Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje), the national family aid organisation ICBF (Instituto Colombiano de Bienestar Familiar), and to various family recreation centres (Cajas de Compensación Familiar)
  • On a voluntary basis: additional costs for hospital stays covered

To strengthen the community feeling amongst employees and for maintaining a friendly atmosphere at work

  • Every month the employees birthdays are celebrated and the employee receives a gift from the company (a voucher card of COP 50,000 to spend in a supermarket)
  • Annual company party is organised
  • Every last Friday of the month the Human resource department organises a breakfast for the employees
  • During Christmas season, once a week the Human resource department provides a breakfast for the employees
  • Halloween party with custom contest


Educational opportunities:

  • Sapia supports employees who decide to go to university (they pay for study fees and working hours are adapted)
  • Apprenticeships offered
    • First one to two years of school then 6 months practical training at Sapia (paid)

Transparency

  • Work contracts are available
  • Payroll is available
  • Pay slips are available
  • SAR (Self Assessment Report) was duly submitted to CONTIGO

 

Monitoring

  • Personal visits in Bogotá (2006, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017)
  • Feedback interview during several visits in Germany

 

Country information

See Encyclopaedia Britannica: Colombia

 

Photos

Visiting Sapia in Bogotá / headquarters

2013_Sapia1 2013_Sapia2 2013_Sapia3  Sapia24Sapia20

Visiting the workshop Angel Azul:

Sapia1 Sapia7 Sapia10

 

 

Sapia on a lecture tour through Germany

Sapia35 Sapia21 Sapia46

Sapia45 Sapia26 Sapia19

First visit of CONTIGO in Bogotá in December 2006

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Author: Janina Lange on 21. January 2019
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