Eco Max Brushes
Eco Max Brushes are handmade in Sri Lanka by a small family run business that prides itself on creating beautiful, sustainable brushes while providing employment and training for women originally from nearby flood prone shanty towns. This allows the women to earn a living wage, as well as access a bonus scheme to increase their weekly pay, while additional money is also put aside for their retirement.
Two factories provide a safe work environment where the women are trained in each area of the brush making process, from twisting the natural fibre heads, to lacquering the wooden handles, and all the bits in between. Combing the long shanks of raw fibre, cutting them to the correct lengths for each style of brush, trimming and finishing the final product, tying of cords and labels and finally packing them into boxes.
The needs of the women are catered for by providing easy transitions from work at home, part-time, and full-time work. These opportunities allow women to raise their children, care for their elderly, and look after their families at all stages of their life. The company has also been able to use some money set aside from the Fair Trade premiums paid on the Eco Max Brushes and, after extensive negotiations with local government, the women and their families have been able to rebuild their homes on new land that is not flood prone and with better access to facilities.
As the sales of Eco Max Brushes has grown, so too has the workforce. There are now women of all ages crafting Eco Max Brushes and the need for childcare has become a priority. A brand-new creche on the premise facility was completed in mid-2019, providing the women with free day-care for their youngest children and after school care for their school aged children. This has given the women the opportunity to return to full-time work when they are ready after starting a family, knowing that their children are being cared for and educated close by. The centre is also providing their school age children with English lessons ensuring that they have the best opportunities for the future.
Fair Trade makes a difference to these artisan brush makers and with your support has helped to fund a creche and provide toys and learning resources for the children. Eco Max Brushes use only natural plant fibres, are biodegradable and sustainable. The brushes are registered with The Vegan Society and Import Ants, the Fair Trade company, are always working closely with the women to develop new brushes using new fibres.