Sosote Project: animal necklaces


Sosote Project: animal necklaces

Just arrived: Tagua nut animals from the Sosote project of Just Trade.

Collane con animali scolpiti da una noce Tagua




Sosote is a small village on the coast of Ecuador, well known for it’s family-run Tagua workshops.

How many people work there?

We work with 3 workshops, totalling 7 people.

How long have we been working with them?

We’ve been working with the workshops in Sosote since 2012.  We first heard about the project through the Ecuadorian Embassy, after they mistakenly phoned our office (it’s all a bit bizarre).  After realising their mistake, conversations sparked about who we actually were and what we did.  A couple of months later, Laura was on a plane to Ecuador!

What is unique about the Sosote Project?

The artisans in Sosote are well known for their 3 dimensional tagua carvings, often creating ornaments to sell at local markets.  When Laura originally visited the workshops and initiated product designs, she trained them in basic jewellery making techniques, so their carvings gained a new commercial purpose… in return, a couple of the artisans taught her how they create the tiny eyes in their sculptures using ground tagua shell.


Read more about the ‘lads’ in our blog :

Which products are made in Sosote? Follow this link :


Just Trade was founded in June 2006, initially to provide a route to market for Zoe Creations, a struggling fair trade project in the shantytowns of Lima, Peru. The company was born out of first hand contact with real people in the developing world and the recognition that in order for such projects to be sustainable they need a long-term route to market for their goods.


Combining traditional craft skills and materials with expert knowledge of contemporary jewellery, we have developed ranges of unique, characterful pieces with strong appeal in the European market. From exquisite crocheted silverwork to beautifully carved tagua pendants, our distinctive products are made with care and skill from locally-sourced and ethical materials where possible.


We work collaboratively on the design of our products with the artisans who make them. By teaching the fundamentals of design, we give the artisans that we work with the tools to take an active part in the product development process, encouraging a sense of pride and ownership in their work.


We believe this collaborative approach makes for better products, and a happier, more fulfilled workforce. Together, these make for a sustainable business model.


Plus, it’s fun. We organise competitions (what better way to find the perfect design for a crocheted bee?), and encourage the artisans to try new things and come forward with their own product ideas. New skills are learned and shared, enabling the projects to grow as knowledge spreads among the communities.