Meet Guadalupe Ramírez Director
Guadalupe Ramírez was born in the town of Tejutla, San Marcos, in the Western Highlands of Guatemala. Descendants of slaves, Guadalupe and her family struggled to maintain their health and well-being in a poverty-stricken community until their lives were transformed when nuns from Belgium arrived after Vatican II to foster liberation through education and empowerment. Guadalupe’s father was selected to participate in a cooperative leader training program, subsequently becoming a leader in the cooperative movement. The change fostered by the organization of cooperatives was substantial and long lasting, one generation later, her family now contains one sister who is an accountant, another sister a schoolteacher, the third sister has her MBA, and the youngest is working on a postgraduate degree in chemical engineering.
Spending much of her childhood in cooperatives meetings, Guadalupe learned that people could change their lives for the better by working together. While there are serious challenges confronting indigenous communities, the practices of consensus and community action have allowed her people to survive centuries of injustice and marginalization.
Guadalupe is also the owner of AlterNatives
, a store that carries fairly and directly traded, handmade gifts and jewelry, and, whether she’s at a wrestling match, lacrosse, or a football game, she is the best sideline support her two sons could ask for.
Meet Tiffany Refazo Purchasing manager
I started working for AlterNatives in 2017, over the years I have grown to love working for a local business that runs so transparently with an amazing mission. I am a first generation American and grew up in a multicultural home, my mother being from Guatemala and my father being from the Philippines allowed me to quickly develop an appreciation for rich diversity. Meeting new artists, people and vendors from around the country and world has been such a pleasure and is my favorite part of my job! If i'm not at work you can probably find me hiking in the Blue Ridge Parkway with my friends or at home having a movie marathon.
Meet Avery Nguyen Sales
I’m a small artist who grew up in Richmond, Virginia. I’m a descendant of the Dega Montagnards, who are the indigenous people of the highlands of Southeast Asia. It’s been a pleasure for me working at AlterNatives, participating in solidarity trade with other indigenous peoples. Someday I hope to open my own small business based around solidarity trade and sharing my traditional culture and art with others.