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We believe that by adopting the structures and efficiencies of traditional for-profit enterprise and changing the target – from profit to impact – we can change the world. Together we can channel the power of our consumer choices for social good and create true, tangible change. Together we can offer employment opportunities in unemployable areas, help alleviate poverty, and educate future generations. Our inaugural project works with indigenous Maya women in the highlands of Guatemala who hand-weave the textiles that we manufacture into a range of innovative yoga bags and straps. Our model offers the women a higher and more sustainable income while maintaining an important symbol of their cultural heritage.


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A country interwoven with striking features and strong indigenous culture, Guatemala’s natural beauty stands in stark contrast to its bloody past and troubled present. The indigenous Maya of Guatemala make up around

One legacy of this civil war is the large number of Maya women widowed, many single mothers, and families mired in poverty. “Most people can’t even imagine the kind of poverty these people live in,”

40% of the population. During the 36 year civil war, which ended in 1996, the Maya were a target of

Amnesty International has said.

state sponsored violence. The Guatemala Genocide,

But this bleak picture is not woven in the people we

a year-long campaign in 1982, saw soldiers attack hundreds of Maya villages, massacring civilians,

meet here who possess a beauty that defines all

including children. Of more than 200,00 people killed, 83% were Maya; some 440 massacres were committed in indigenous communities.

hardship. “They’ve been through pain and suffering unthinkable for most of us but when you look into their eyes you see nothing but warmth, love and strength.” – Will (founder of I AM.)


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Across rural Guatemala, thousands of women depend on traditional backstrap weaving to support their families. Weaving is one of the few jobs they can do in the home while looking after their children, but as cheaper machine based textiles flood the market, this art, and their livelihood, is dying out. For Maya women, backstrap weaving is an integral part of daily life and an important symbol of cultural heritage and identity. The weavers rely on income generated from selling their textiles to support their families, but with no market place they can go for months without selling anything at all. The women already work hard and need only a helping hand to establish a more sustainable market. This is exactly what the I AM. model offers them – the ability, through their own work, to escape the poverty they find themselves in, and to secure a future for their children.


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Maria Elena Mendoza

Maria Alejandra

Ana Maria Mendoza

favorite color: blue

favorite color: all of them

favorite color: Blue

We have 6 [people] in our family. I live with my husband and have 2 sons and 2

I have 2 children. Pedro is 8 years old and

I am a single mother and have one beautiful daughter. I am living with my parents; we have 5 people in our family. My dream for the future is to continue to have work and that the I AM. project succeeds.

daughters. For me, I hope one day, that every day we have work. I always work with weaving, but now it is difficult because there is much competition, the thread is expensive, and we don’t get paid well. For me it is very good that you give us work. I hope the people who buy this know that it is a benefit for me and for my family. Because when they are in school, the children ask for money to buy their school supplies. Without work, if my son asks me for 5 or 10 Quetzal ($0.65$1.30USD), how can I do this?

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Noe is 3 years old and is now starting preschool. I want my children to study what they like and be able to earn money. When I was 12 years old I learned to weave. When I learned we wove narrower weavings, but now I have become accustomed to weaving this size. Hopefully this project will continue because if there is work, there is money, if not, there is no money.

Because I live with my parents, my dream would be to have my own house and to earn my own money – I want to improve my life and my daughter’s life. We struggle day by day, so I want to do better. I like weaving because I have always worked with this since I was small, it’s what we did as children, and now everyday I do better.


Aura Sac Navichock

Petronila Hernandez

Antonia Mendoza Ujpan

favorite color: purple

favorite color: purple & rose

favorite color: light blue

I have two daughters and two sons and all are in school. The oldest is in high school,

I have 7 children, [originally] 8 but one

I am a single mother and live in San Juan with my daughter. Since I was 15 years old, I was taught to weave. I like to weave, I

the second is in secondary school and my youngest are in primary school. My dream is that the I AM. project continues forward and that I continue to have the work to help keep my children in school. To the person that buys these bags, the fabric is made with love. Tell your friends!

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died‌ 3 sons and 4 daughters. Thanks to God the first ones have finished their studies. But I have responsibility of the 3 still studying; one in first grade, one in third and my youngest is in kindergarten. My mother taught me when I was 8 years old to make small weavings. I like to weave because I can earn money for my children. If I have more money I will help my children study and buy things I need for the house. For example, where I am now, I have no kitchen. Thank you for coming to San Juan La Laguna and for giving us work.

like to make huipiles (traditional women’s tops). Weaving has always given me my living and I am supporting my daughter now who is studying. I would like to thank you for helping us. We can only support ourselves by weaving, and while we are
in this group, we will be able to earn a bit. Thank you for giving us work and we hope you will continue helping us. May God bless you.


Catarina Juarez

Isabela Pichilla Ramos

Flora Catarina Mendoza

favorite color: blue

favorite color: all of them

favorite color: Blue

I have 7 in my family, two sons and one daughter, and my grandson lives with

I am 22 years old and a single mother living with my father and my mother. My sons name is Jorge and he is four years old. At 8 or 10 years old I learned to weave from my uncle. I never had a chance to study in

My family is four – my husband, me and three children. That is why I weave, for necessity. My husband doesn’t earn much

us. My oldest two children have finished school. When I was young, my mother taught me how to weave. I continued to weave and did not go to school. I began weaving small (narrow) weavings when I was 10 years old and now I am weaving the widest weavings I have ever woven. My dream is that this project continues, and if there are more requests I will benefit with more work – I would like my last child to finish school.

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school. For my future, I want to give my son a better life because I was not given this. He can earn his title, study in university, whatever he wants. It is my dream to go forward, with my baby, with my son.

so I help with my weaving. I have to work and my husband must work so that our children can have a better life. So they will have good work – this is my dream for my children. My dream when I was a child was to be a teacher, but I married very young and then that was not in the reality of my dreams. I want to save money with my work and buy some land and plant a garden, vegetables, for the family to eat. I hope you like the fabric – it’s good fabric.


Marcela Mendoza Ujpan

Micaela Tale Sicay

Maria Vicenta Perez

favorite color: all of them

favorite color: purple

favorite color: yellow

I have 1 daughter and 1 son. My son studied to be a teacher and my daughter

I have 4 children, 2 boys and 2 girls. They

In my family I have a daughter who is 32 years old, my grandson and my husband.

is still in middle school so who knows what she will choose to study! When I was small I did not have the chance to study because there were many children in my family, so my mother taught me to weave. That was ok because this is what I like to do. To the person who buys this bag, please invite more people to buy, because this fabric is made by hand with love.

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are studying and I want them to continue their studies. My husband is working in the fields but he doesn’t earn much. I want my children to be professionals, to have a good job, to work for a business – that’s why I am weaving. I am working for my family. I want to be able to buy corn so they aren’t hungry, to pay for school and to buy bread every day.

I worry about my daughter because she is sick...she has cancer. She has 3 children. They killed her husband 4 years ago so she is alone. We took her to the hospital in Guatemala City but they did not want to operate, I don’t know why. The most important thing is that my daughter is cured and that she returns to her children. It’s important for me to work to help her. She can’t work – before she could weave, but not now – she has not worked for 1 year.


Micaela Cholotio Mendoza

Julia Ujpan Hernandez

Juana Hernandez Temó

favorite color: purple

favorite color: red

favorite color: all of them

I have 4 in my family. My son is 11 years old and helps in the house so I can do my

I have an 8 year old daughter. My husband works in the countryside, sometimes he has work and sometimes there is no work. That is why I weave. When I was a child, we lived with my mother and she was very

I have 9 children and 22 grandchildren. For the moment, I live with my husband and

weaving, my daughter too. I had a dream since I was 8 years old to weave, and now I am weaving the largest fabric I have woven! I want my children to finish their studies, I don’t want my children to suffer as I have suffered – I want them to have an easier life. I hope the I AM. project continues, when I was working with other groups the pay was not just, but now I am earning well – I hope we will continue so I can prosper.

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poor. We did not play much, we would work. Father grew onions and tomatoes and we would water and take care of them. That was the way it was when I was small. I hope that God gives my daughter a good life, that she does well in school and that she has a better life. Thank you for helping my family.

one child who is in school. He is disabled so is struggling to complete his studies. This is why I am weaving, to help my child. When I was little, a bit bigger than my granddaughters, I began to learn to weave. It was difficult to learn; when I was sitting they would put a rock in front of me so the weaving wouldn’t pull me forward. But now I don’t need a rock!


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will baxter

jessie baxter

nadja vormann

ideas man - san francisco, US

executer - san francisco, US

courage - wuppertal, DE

Will’s philosophy on life is simple - to LIVE – life in every breath. The right mix of creative & ambitious with a track record for making ideas happen Will is motivated by doing the seemingly impossible. From simultaneously completing the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) & Chartered Accountants (CA) program in Melbourne, Australia, to finishing an Ironman triathlon with only 10 months of training - Will is always up for the challenge. It was while completing a Yoga teacher training course in Guatemala, however, that he was inspired with the idea for I AM. - although it took him taking to a treadmill for 50 hours to make it a reality. He did.

Jessie combines the aptitude and diligence of a trained mechanical engineer with the style and operational talent of a former General Manager of a Melbourne based fashion agency. Managing everything from the website to media relations & marketing, to product manufacturing and operating procedures - she is the backbone of I AM. and is the reason we continue to achieve so much with such a small team. Two words best describe Jessie - “relentless execution.” Without Jessie, I AM. would never have got off the ground. When she’s not GSDing (Getting Sh*t done) at I AM. she loves spending time with friends and soaking up what her amazing new city has to offer.

Nadja is courage incarnated. German-born, Nadja inspires everyone with the unwavering bravery she brings to following her heart – even when it leads her well

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off the beaten path. It was that courage that led her to the Yoga instructor training course in Guatemala where she met Will. Nadja lived in Guatemala for over 12 months during the initial stages of I AM. Her enthusiasm, energy and indomitability is an inspiration.


olivia coleman

leo cheung

Alison kelly

creative Strategist - san francisco, US

go-getter - vancouver, CA

guat go-getter - Panajachel, GT

Olivia is a Seattle native living in San Francisco. She is full of life and energy and an absolute joy to be around. As a writer

Leo was born and raised in Vancouver, studied marketing, trained as a yoga instructor and now teaches yoga in the Greater Vancouver area. He is an absolutely incredible human being. He has been involved with I AM. from the very beginning after he met Will in Guatemala following a one month meditation retreat. Leo came down from Vancouver to join the rest of the team and was the linchpin of our Kickstarter success. As an ambassador for I AM., Leo focuses on spreading the joy of yoga through his amazing teachings. When he’s not on the mat, Leo is connecting with yogis and like-minded people helping to spread the I AM. story.

Alison lives on Lake Atitlan and runs operations on-the-ground in Guatemala. She is bicultural, bilingual and bi-awesome

and web PR strategist she puts what we’re doing into words and helps us to share this amazing little story. When she’s not busy scribbling she is helping with partner outreach and connecting I AM. with the seemingly in-connectable. Olivia’s little secret: no fear! She was also the brainchild behind our Global Game of Tag campaign on Facebook. Olivia is creative, inspired and incredible at managing differing opinions between brother and sister in our creative sessions.

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with a Guatemalan American heritage. The former principal of an elementary school in Berkley, –CA, Alison brings years of valuable experience to her role as I AM. Project Director. With grace and control, she is the glue that holds everything together on the ground in Guatemala and the reason the rest of the I AM. team can sleep so soundly.


David Perez Sacach

Gabriela Sauma

Michaela & luis mendoza

GSD-er - san marcos, GT

photographer - merida, MX

mayan legends - san Marcos, GT

Guatemalan-born David Sacach is a friend, artist, photographer and translator for the I AM. Team. He grew up in the village of San Marcos on Lake Atitlan just a short boat

Born on the Yucatán peninsula in Mexico, Gabriela is a free spirit, an artist and

Luis & Michaela are our local Mayan legends and the most inspiring people we have ever had the privilege of meeting. Happily married their attitude towards life

ride away from the where the weavers we work with live. David is of Mayan descent and speaks three different local Mayan dialects in addition to Spanish and English, making him an invaluable member of the team. When David isn’t snapping photos or translating, he is running around and GSDing on the ground in Guatemala.

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incredibly talented photographer. Gabriela, who exhibits her work around the world, has been a dedicated member of the I AM. Team from the beginning. She has travelled to Guatemala on four separate occasions to live among the ladies we work with and through her lens capture the beauty of this amazing country and it’s people. We will forever be indebted to Gabriella for her ongoing contribution.

is awe-inspiring and defies the hardship they have lived through. Luis was captured and tortured after being held prisoner during the Guatemalan Civil War, he still bears the scars around his wrists – although his spirit remains unbroken. Through the many challenges we have faced and obstacles we have had to overcome Luis & Michaela have never given up hope for the I AM. project. The mantra they live by that acts as an inspiration for the rest of the team is “Todo es posible” – Everything is possible.


I AM. Story & Photo Book  
I AM. Story & Photo Book  

Our journey to date. Learn about our Guatemala Solution, meet your weavers and the team behind I AM.

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