Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Recycled Rice Sac Rug Sales in Florida Feeds Dominican Families

Beautify your house and save a Dominican family from hunger. The rugs are something you'd expect to see for sale in Manhattan or other big city market. But BleuVerd Group is selling them at South Florida green markets.

Dulce and daughter Samantha Ortiz showing rice sac backing
of recycled rug, BleuVerd Group, South Florida

Co-owner Dulce Ortiz, from Dominican Republic, said she and her sister saw a need to help the poor families of her country. In 2011, they formed BlueVerd Group and started signing on rural Dominican artisans to make the Pelizza (pronounced pe-gee-zah) style rugs for them. "We are trying to generate work for people that are going hungry," said Ortiz.

The families are given cloth in either cotton or polyester, which is then torn into pieces, and tied into the rice sacs. This makes the rugs machine washable. The rugs sell from $10 (extra small) to $79 (extra large).

Cedar boxes and cow-horn jewelry by Dominican artisans,
BleuVerd Group, South Florida

She also sells cedar boxes and cow-horn jewelry, all made by Dominican artisans. After the cow is processed for meat, their horns are made into bracelets, rings, necklaces, and belts. "We use every part of the cow," said Ortiz.

BlueVerd Group orders small batches of rugs and crafts, from different artisans in the country areas. "We want to generate work for a few days and a meal for them for a few days," Ortiz said. As the company learns what size jewelry Americans like, so do the artisans. "What fits our artisans doesn't necessarily fit our customers here," said Ortiz.

She and her sister are not making a profit as yet, that's why they are keeping their day jobs. Ortiz works as a court reporter and her sister represents Dominican exporters. They pay for everything out of pocket, like shipping the rugs and crafts from the Dominican Republic to Florida. "It is a charitable contribution at the moment," said Ortiz, "In Dominican Republic, we have the heart. We are great humanitarians."

In the future, they plan to turn over part of their profits to charities in their country.

Dulce Ortiz displaying large recycled rice sac rug made
by Dominican artisans for BleuVerd Group,
South Florida

The BleuVerd Group has three brands: Isle Bleu, Naturally Ethnic, and Truly Ethnic.
You can find their rugs and jewelry for sale, every other week, at the Wellington Green Market (Sat 8-1pm) and Lake Park Green Market (Sun 11-3pm). You can also purchase directly from their website

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