A Look Back at August 2023

For many around the world, August is a month for relaxing, going on vacation and spending time with the family. For the Aid to Artisans team, we did this in a special way. Going to tradeshows and hosting events with our global artisan family was our vacation.

Success at the Shoppe Object Show in New York City

Dos Tierras, a partner of Aid to Artisans Mexico, and Dancing Yak Handicrafts, a brand whose products are made by artisans in China, exhibited at the Shoppe Object show in New York City!

This show is filled with beautiful home and gift products from around the world, each demonstrating unique designs and beautiful color pallets that draw you into their booths. It was the second time for Dos Tierras, and the first time for Dancing Yak Handicrafts to exhibit at this show.

The Dos Tierras and Dancing Yak booths were located across from one another, letting buyers see the unique products, and learn more about them and the cultural influences behind both brands.

Kristine Jones, representative for Dancing Yak Handicrafts, told us:

“For many years, Dancing Yak Handicrafts has listened to buyers’ feedback and developed new gender-neutral styles rooted in traditional designs and colors, and sales strategies based on their input. At Shoppe Object this year, we could really see that our hard work has paid off with a new, diverse group of potential buyers who love our versatile and stylish products.”

Pictured: Top right – Members of ATA Mexico and US, and consultant Laurie Kanes at Shoppe Object; Bottom left – Dancing Yak Handicrafts booth at Shoppe Object; Bottom middle- Dancing Yak Handicrafts products; Bottom right- ATA Mexico/Dos Tierras booth at Shoppe Object

Entrepreneurs from Lesotho and Ethiopia Visit New York City Tradeshows

22 artisan entrepreneurs traveled from Lesotho and Ethiopia to New York City to experience the US market first-hand. The Market Familiarization Trip, conducted by ATA and sponsored by the Trade Facility Office (TFO) Canada, gave these entrepreneurs an opportunity to see  a US tradeshow first hand and gain a better understanding of the US consumer and retail market.

During the 4-day program, the participants walked NY NOW and Shoppe Object, an experience which opened their eyes to the US wholesale business. They also attended training sessions hosted by ATA, spoke with buyers and received feedback on their products from them. At the end of their trip, the group visited retail stores in the Chelsea Market and Union Square areas of the city to get a feel for the different types of US stores, customers and trends.

One participant told us:

“I learned a lot. When I came here, I was 50/50 [on] what can I learn. But after visiting the Shoppe Object, I learned that I didn’t know anything. I learned to be focused. To try to do everything is not the correct direction. For us, we have to be focused and choose which product we need to be successful.”

Pictured: Top left – MFT Participants, buyers, and consultants together in the program room at NY NOW; Bottom left- Group from Lesotho outside of ABC Carpet & Home; Bottom center – MFT group listening to Jesse James at Shoppe Object; bottom right – Group from Ethiopia at ABC Carpet & Home

A Special Thank You to Those Who Made the Market Familiarization Trip Possible

On behalf of the Aid to Artisans team, we want to extend a special thank you to everyone who made this experience so successful. First and foremost, thank you Trade Facility Office (TFO) Canada for sponsoring this experience and for the 22 wonderful entrepreneurs who made the trip.

We further want to thank our consultants, Patti Carpenter, Nathalie Tancrede, Dondrill Glover, and Brian Lane for sharing their wisdom and guiding the entrepreneurs throughout the whole program.

We would also like to thank the buyers who provided feedback to the entrepreneurs and shared their thoughts and experiences with them. So, a big thank you to Laurie Kanes of 12 Small Things, Katrina Parrish, owner of Nilu Gift Shop in Harlem NY, Jeanine Polizzi, LIM & Parsons Professor / author of Biz in Bloom / Brand Advocate, and Edurado Velazquez, an interior designer and owner of Incasa Decor Home Store.

Finally, we would like to thank the Director of Marketing, Sandra Kehoe and Events Operation Manager Londy Alvarez of NY NOW / Emerald, and Jesse James and Renata Bokalo of Shoppe Object for your assistance and guidance.

Picutred: Patti Carpenter and 2 MFT participants at NY NOW

Artisan Business Lab Hosted the 2023 Tradeshow Snapshot Webinar

We were excited to present one of our most sought-after webinars again last month. Lauren Barkume, ATA’s Training Director, and Dondrill Glover, a Global Market Consultant, Social Impact Curator and Founder of Ahmesa Table (at right), discussed the current landscape of tradeshows in the US and provided valuable insights to everyone who attended.

Throughout the hour-long discussion, participants asked engaging questions which kept the conversation lively. One of the key learnings that Dondrill provided us with was:

“If you happen to do a winter show (for example), they [buyers] are purchasing for spring and summer. This is a good time to think about the holiday schedule in the United States. What are Americans celebrating and when, and what are the products for those celebrations?”

With these questions in mind, it could help you choose the right season and show for you and your brand. Want to learn more? You can watch the free webinar replay HERE.

Pictured: Dondrill Glover of Ahmesa Table

What’s to Come in September

-We will be hosting our eMarket Readiness Program and Virtual Global Networking Cocktail Hour. Want to join the networking cocktail hour? Register for the free event HERE. 

-We will be announcing the winners of the 2023 Canvas Home Small Grants Program

-Training begins for our artisanal youth program in Burkina Faso. Stay tuned to see what they learn! Stay tuned to see what they learn!

Pictured: ATSWA Trust – winner of the 2022 Canvas Home Small Grant program