A Look Back at February 2023

Welcome to our second Aid to Artisans Monthly e-letter! We hope you enjoy reading about our project highlights from February.

TFO Canada Market Familiarization Trip

TFO Canada GroupThis 6-day trip to New York City was packed with activities! 22 artisan businesses from Madagascar and Uganda learned about the US Market by experiencing it first-hand. Sponsored by Trade Facility Office (TFO) Canada, the artisans walked the NY NOW and Shoppe Object tradeshows to familiarize themselves with what a tradeshow is all about.

They also did 2 days of retail tours, visiting stores across the city including high end retail stores in SoHo and home and accessory stores in the Chelsea Market area.

One participant, Aero from Uganda, told us, “By coming here, I’ve learned that there are different types of buyers. Some buy a lot of products for a mass market, and some are looking for a small amount. So now I [k]now what my target is and how to price my products.”

ATA at Shoppe Object

Shoppe Object ATA MexicoAid to Artisans Mexico, in collaboration with export company Dos Tierras, made their first appearance at Shoppe Object in New York City! This show is new and showcases compelling home and gift makers from around the world. Guillermo Jester, the head of Dos Tierras, told us that the show is “a great platform to showcase our collections and the work of the artisans we collaborate with.”

Bright pillows and pompoms were on display, as well as traditionally crafted huipils, hammocks, throw blankets, and tabletop accessories, all drawing buyers in to place orders and tell the stories behind the beautiful products made in Chiapas and the Yucatán Peninsula.

A Success Story from Chiapas, Mexico

Juana Chiapas Success Story

Juana López Guzmán is part of the Las Mariposas Group in the municipality of San Juan Cancúc, Chiapas. Her work was featured in the Spring/Summer collection from Mexico that we displayed at the Las Vegas Market and Shoppe Object. Juana plays an important part in her group and advises her colleagues on product quality and highlights teamwork to achieve the group’s sales goals for local, national, and international customers. This role is important to the group, supporting their efforts to enter the market and move towards independence.

Designer Howard Peller Visits Kashmir, India

Howard in India

Last year, we conducted product development workshops for artisans in Jammu & Kashmir, India, and introduced them to the US market through the “Art-X Kashmir – Export Linkage for Four Artisan Clusters in Jammu & Kashmir” project.

The designer of willow and wicker products, Howard Peller (pictured in the center of the above image), went to Kashmir in February to see how the products that he designed were made and witness the hard work the artisans put into bringing these designs to life. He met with our Local Coordinator Javeed Dar, the export company, Kadam Haat, and the artisans of the producer company, Shaaksaz Producer Company.

New Courses Launched at Artisan Business Lab

ATA’s Artisan Business Lab provides artisan businesses with resources and courses spanning all areas of doing business in the handmade space. Based on feedback about previous offerings, we launched 2 new courses in February. Marcella Echavarria created the How to Create Powerful Communications for Social Media course, where she provides a toolbox to implement and build the story of each brand on social media.

Our second course, How to Prepare for an International Tradeshow, by Nathalie Tancrede, provides the information needed to have a successful tradeshow experience, starting from the preparation phase, all the way through to post show follow up.

We also held 2 live webinars and 2 Facebook Live events with each instructor!

One-on-One Sessions Reach Morocco

ATA Training Director Lauren Barkume worked with Hanane Ait Ouakrim, a Leadership Development Fellowship and founder of EMaâlem, a non-profit organization training artisans in Marrakech. Over the course of a month of one-on-one coaching sessions, ATA helped Hanane develop a training strategy for her organization, and provided feedback on the development of training materials to prepare for a Branding Development workshop and artisan expo which will be held in March with 20 artisans in Marrakech.

What’s to Come This Month

Interested in what’s coming in March?

  • Tamula Foods to exhibit at SIAL America in Las Vegas for the first time
  • Sponsored by the US Embassy in South Africa, ATA’s Training Director, Lauren Barkume, will be travelling to 4 cities across South Africa to conduct workshops and training for entrepreneurs, women, and youth in the creative industry.