Empowering Artisans

We create economic opportunities for artisan groups around the world where livelihoods, communities, and craft traditions are marginal or at risk.

We blend a passion for the deep-rooted cultures and handmade traditions of the developing world with a commitment to building profitable businesses. Environmentally sound practices are at the foundation of our methodology. We recognize that we can only bring lasting economic growth if we provide an integrated approach to product development, business skills training, market access, and eco-effective processes.

We accomplish this by working together with partners in the countries where we work and in the markets we connect artisans with, leaving behind an infrastructure that continues to support the artisan community long after we complete our mentoring.

To accomplish our mission we focus on three areas for artisans and entrepreneurs: Product Development, Business Training, and Market Access.

Our Methodology

PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT

Design: Our product development and design are rooted in solid market knowledge by hiring successful, trend-forward designers from the U.S. and European home décor, gift, and fashion accessories industries. Our product development aims to blend global market needs with traditional techniques and indigenous motifs. Product design and development should inspire new possibilities for creative artisan exploration that adds value to their handmade traditions.

Technical Production: Our design consultants develop creative solutions to streamline challenges such as raw material preparation, appropriate technology, environmentally sound production methods, and quality control. Producing a product that can be produced again and again with consistent quality, affordable costs, care to the planet, and to the health and well being of artisans is the full recipe for lasting success.

Design Mentoring: Our design consultants mentor local designers in-person and long-distance to provide market perspective to these in-country creative visionaries. When design consultants work side-by-side in an artisan’s workshop accompanied by a local designer, their exchange of ideas is invaluable. The exposure of local designers to international market trends is critical to local business sustainability.

BUSINESS TRAINING

Customized Training: With more than 30 years of experience in field-based training, we are able to customize training programs to suit organizational needs and goals and build the capacity of artisan enterprises. It can range from full development of custom seminars, including demonstrations and training materials, to smaller programs that simply provide one of our expert consultants to focus on a specific area.

We combine seminars and hands-on experience to address a wide spectrum of needs including export marketing, preparing for trade show exhibition, organizing a local craft fair, regional marketing strategies and eco-effective processes. Such training can offer greater attention to individual needs and provides follow up with staff or local training partners. Components of our Market Readiness Program have been translated and adapted for customized training in several local settings, including Bolivia, Guatemala, Peru, Colombia, Haiti, India, and South Africa.

In addition to customized Training, we offer a series of services including the Market Readiness Program, One-on-One Mentoring, TEAM, and AidToArtisansU.

MARKET ACCESS

We work with all the partners in the entire distribution channel to ensure sustainability. Designing market-driven products and business training are only part of our equation. We work with artisans, exporters, importers, and retailers, connecting them, and ensuring that they are working together so that each business becomes profitable. Our comprehensive marketing approach forges relationships between artisans and customers that last for decades.

Strategic Marketing Plans: We work with each artisan enterprise to assess its product and business. We develop actionable marketing plans that define target markets, distribution channel strategy, costing and pricing structures, sales, and marketing activities. Targeting local, regional, or export markets, and determining distribution channels requires a focused marketing plan. Our experience and vast network of market experts allows us to develop tailored strategies for all potential business models and target markets.

The home décor, gift, and fashion industries utilize Aid to Artisans as a resource for connecting their buyers to new materials, products, and artisan groups. We have a vast network in the design, home décor, and gift industries. These network connections advise us on marketing and product development, ensure the marketability of products, and provide additional market access opportunities.