Upcycled Hand-Blown Glass from Apolis

oaxacan hand-blown glassware by apolis

Apolis means “global citizen,” and that’s the kind of people California brothers Raan and Shea Parton are.

They realized they could be advocates for artists, craftsmen, and entrepreneurs of all ilks, around the world by opening up the global marketplace to them. A certified B-Corp, Apolis sells clothing, luggage, accessories, even the super popular (and now customizable!) market bag, which provide valuable jobs to women in Bangladesh. Their motto is “advocacy through industry,” and it’s a powerful idea as they provide economic stimulation in areas desperately in need of it while helping to preserve skills and craftsmanship.

oaxacan hand-blown glassware by apolis

A prime example of this is their incredibly beautiful Oaxacan glass collection. In 2015, the Parton brothers went to Mexico, where three quarters of all glassblowing studios have been forced to close, to find artists who could help with a partnership with Chivas Regal. They wanted to create a special whiskey tumbler for their “Art of Hosting” package. They succeeded!

Still, like anything, this endeavor created waste. So, Apolis teamed up with Studio Xaquixe in Oaxaca to repurpose that waste into something beautiful. The fourteen artists at Studio Xaquixe are some of the last in the entire country and so are some of the last to practice their glassblowing techniques.

The Apolis team saw a unique opportunity: repurpose the glass waste from the Chivas project at Studio Xaquixe and help preserve techniques. The Oaxacan collection is full of impossibly classic, clean designs, including a drinking glass, water carafe, candle holder, and vase.

They range in price from $15 to $40, which is incredible when you learn what a remarkable difference that price supports. The average minimum wage in the area is a paltry $89 a month, but a glassblower at Studio Xaquixe earns about $592 a month. These four, hand-blown, upcycled glass items that will never go out of style, provide income and guaranteed work to those who might not otherwise have the chance at either.

Simply by buying something beautiful, you’re helping the environment, providing jobs, ethical wages, and helping to preserve some of humanity’s greatest achievements: craftsmanship.