Our Story

Mamacha was set up in 2008, as a not for profit business venture to provide a reliable and fair income to women living in Lima, Peru. The enviable knitting skills passed down through generations of Peruvian women caught the eye of Amy and James Mathey, who had travelled and worked in Peru.

They wanted to forge a business that allowed them to express their creativity, designing alpaca knitwear for customers in the UK, whilst simultaneously building an opportunity for women to make a living in a sustainable way.

Amy studied Spanish and Latin American Studies at the University of Nottingham and spent her gap year in Trujillo, Peru. She then gained a work placement at the British Embassy in Lima and later on met the hand knitting group through a Peruvian friend in 2008. She felt there was a missing link between the women’s skills and a potential market in the UK and beyond.

Peru's beautiful natural fibre, silky soft alpaca, is such a good insulator that alpacas can live in freezing cold conditions at altitudes of 5000 metres in the Andes mountains.

Today, Mamacha knitters congregate at their community centre to knit the orders Mamacha sends them, where they make new friends and support each other. If they prefer, they can collect the alpaca fibre and knit from home.  Working for Mamacha has given them a sense of pride and improved their self-confidence.  They are delighted that the pieces they have hand knitted are now sold in the UK, USA, Europe and all around the world. Some of the women have told us that the work has been life changing for them as they feel valued for their skills and it has improved their self-esteem. The tags we have created for each product have the name of each knitter written on them, adding to this sense of self worth for women who live undeniably challenging lives.
Our knitters are paid a good wage, the price being determined by the groups themselves, taking into consideration how long items have taken to make and the skills involved.  We never drive prices down, in fact production costs tend to increase year on year.  Approximately forty women in Peru now benefit from knitting for Mamacha.

We have a loyal customer following and see many customers return to buy multiples of their favourite garment (especially the jumpers!), once they have experienced the quality and the long lasting wear of alpaca. 

Mamacha is a member of the Ethical Fashion Forum and Amy has completed a Business Course in Sustainable Fashion at the London College of Fashion.