Frequently Asked Questions
Where is the project located?
Cho’jac items is located in Berlin, Germany (head quarter, distribution and parts of the production processes, education) as well as in Chiapas, Mexico (production, support and education)
Whom do you collaborate with?
We collaborate with local Mayan-Tzotzil families and the well-established Mexican NGO Impacto. Furthermore, we are an active member of the global Cultural Intellectual Property Rights Initiative CIPRI. We work only with certified European suppliers in our local production.
How do you secure the cultural intellectual property rights of the artisans?
Through an ongoing exchange and our close cooperation with the NGO Impacto and by following the CIPRI pact of conduct, we ensure to honor and respect the intellectual property rights of our artisans and partners in Mexico and Germany.
What do you give back to the artisan community in Chiapas?
With the sales and promotion of their work and products we support the artisan families directly. Furthermore, we finance low threshold, public and free courses in Chiapas (The use of the Cho’jac nets is historically rooted in the Mayan tradition for over 7’000 years but is about to be extinct). We aim for this unique cultural heritage to be promoted and the historical knowledge to be shared and revived for future generations.
By our continous cultural work on an international level and by sharing information about the project, as well as the history behind this ancient craft. In schools, universities and on public events, we ensure to foster and sponsor the community in various ways through diverse channels and to their favor.
What kind of materials do you use?
Our principle and philosophy is to use only the most natural and long-lasting materials in their best quality which are simultaneously the optimal choice for our sustainable designs. At the same time, it is our aim to supply and produce as locally as possible to support regional craftswo*manship and / or welfare services in both countries.
Where do the materials come from?
Our nets are made from sustainable grown local Agave plants which grow wild all over Mexico but are planted for our use in small local crops by our artisan partners.
The leather for our Cho’jac items comes from regional German cattle that lived happily in line with German animal welfare regulations and the legal protection of the Animals Act. The leather is processed locally and sustainably through plant-based vegetable tanning following the ecological regulations of the German law.
For our inlay we use extra thick linen , which is grown, processed, and woven in Europe as our supplier guarantees. The inner bag is made of certified cotton with OekoTex100 label.
Is Agave cactus fiber sustainable?
The Agave plant is a throughout unpretentious sort of cactus which does not need any kind of fertilizer and only an absolute minimum of water to grow. It is therefore fully sustainable and still fairly underestimated.
Do you sell vegan bags as well?
We gave the product idea of bags with straps and laces of vegan leather a lot of thoughts and tested all currently available materials. None of it could meet our requirements in terms of longevity, strength, and compounds. We do not want to support the use of mineral oil or plastic for the production of vegan leather as per current technical solution available. However we are more than open to implement a sustainable and vegan substitute in the future, if available and adequate to our strict material policy. Please also check therefore Ecocults ranking for vegan leather alternatives.
How are the nets delivered from Mexico to Germany?
As we try to keep our ecological footprint as small as possible but have to solve the challenge of delivering the nets from Mexico to Germany, we avoid using delivery services or the usual global transport companies. We very thankfully benefit from our wide network of supporters and friends which transport the nets in their holiday or business luggage without using extra storage or fuel to keep the carbon pollution at an absolute minimum.
How are the prices set?
The price of the nets is governed by the Mayan artisan families themselves and is not negotiable. The craftspeople are skilled and educated by NGO Impacto to demand fair prices for their artisanal work and the materials they use for. However, we are fully aware of the fact that the prices for one net should be much higher since the production time is truely immense. As the calculated final price would be too high to sell nets at all, the artisans identify their own balanced price which repays them appropriately. Women and men are equally paid at Cho’jac items. The rest of the calculation is based on the production prices of our partners and sustainable, high-quality materials.
Do you have a product repair-service?
Yes, indeed. All the parts of your Cho’jac item can be replaced, renewed or if possible repaired. We strongly support sustainability and the re-use of all our products.
Please write us a message with photos and the description of your problem, so we can inform you about eventual costs and possibilities to fix your beloved item.
Is Cho’jac items supported by other initiatives?
We are kindly supported by CIPRI, the international Cultural Intellectual Property Rights Initiative which supports the recognition of cultural IP rights© for craftsmen and women who are the custodians and transmitters of traditional garments, traditional designs and traditional manufacturing techniques.
Also we have collaborated since the beginning of our project with the well-known Mexican NGO Impacto, a civil organization committed to the sustainable development of indigenous people. Through the philanthropic fusion and social entrepreneurship, which includes ethical trade, gender perspective, social justice as well as human and economic development as their guiding axes, they promote best practices and share knowledge throughout the region of Chiapas, Mexico.
Finally, we work with the Swiss consultancy studio Toqapu which is devoted to support intangible cultural heritage through design. They connect artisan communities in rural areas with the growing demand for authentic, high-quality and sustainable products in urban cities across the world. Through close cooperation with artisans, designers and specialists, they contribute to the preservation of invaluable cultural traditions, while also spurring innovation and trade.
When is the next free workshop in net making available?
Please follow us on Instagram to get to know when the next freebie workshop in braiding nets with the Mayan artisans will take place.
For request regarding speeches and lectures in relation to crafts, social design or sustainable entrepreneurship, please send us a message to info (at) chojac.net