Mexico: Rincón México crafts

Planet Berlin: Fair Trade Mexico

Fair goods at fair prices

For Aglaen Rodríguez, profit is not the top priority. Having moved to Berlin in 2011, she worked in various social organizations before choosing to combine her commitment to human rights with the sale of sustainable Mexican handicrafts.

Planet Berlin: Fair Trade Mexico

One of a kind

In Berlin, one often associates amber with holidays on the Baltic Sea. But in Mexico too, the precious stone has a long heritage in jewelry. Rincón México features a range of unique amber earrings, bracelets, necklaces and rings that were handmade by a family business in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas.

Planet Berlin: Fair Trade Mexico

Cooperative production

Rincón México was created as a "social business," with Aglaen Rodríguez aiming to show that fair trade is possible. Carpets, jewelry, cloths, bags: almost all the products on sale are handmade and come from traditional family businesses or cooperatives as opposed to large corporations. The colorful goods also perfectly complement the lively Friedrichshain district.

Planet Berlin: Fair Trade Mexico

A woman's touch

These bags are handmade by a team of women in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas where there is a large indigenous population with a long tradition of making distinctive handcrafts. The flowers on the front of the bag are sewn on, while the fabric on the back is woven.

With authentic Mexican carpets, crafts and coffee, Aglaen Rodríguez brings her homeland to Friedrichshain. Here there's no throwaway souvenirs but sustainable fair trade goods from Mexican cooperatives and collectives.

For Aglaen Rodríguez, her small corner shop in Friedrichshain is just like a little piece of home in Berlin. That's exactly what Rincón México means: ‘Mexican corner.' Her store in the Samariterkiez district is a 30-square-meter kaleidoscope of arts and crafts: carpets, fashion, jewelry, decorations and accessories. She also offers a selection of tequila and mezcal from small distilleries. 

Everything is fair trade, a fact about which the owner is very proud. Aglaen Rodríguez, who hails from Monterrey, a city in Northeastern Mexico, has always had an interest in politics. Back in her hometown she would work together with NGOs, and today she continues to maintain relationships with small cooperatives and collectively organized groups whose products reflect the diversity of their communities in Mexico. She sells textiles from the Northern Mexican city of Saltillo, carpets form the southern state of Oaxaca, and amber and organic coffee from the indigenous state of Chiapas, which is famous for the Zapatista uprising in the 1990s.

Mexico: Rincón México - Move your cursor or finger for the 360° view

Forging a niche

The espressos and arabica coffees carry that history with them in their names – 'Rebeldia' and ‘Libertad – The Coffee of the Daily Revolution,' among others. It was the darker side of life in Mexico that finally prompted Rodríguez and her German husband to move. "It got too dangerous and not a single day would go by without the sound of gunshots." But of course Aglaen Rodriguez misses her home country. And her shop has allowed her to forge her own little niche in Berlin.

Author: Friedhelm Teicke

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Proskauer Str. 34 
10247 Berlin-Friedrichshain