Artisan and Fox has come a long way in the past year.
I thought to consolidate my thoughts after our pilot ended earlier this year for my first blog article for Artisan and Fox. Picking up from our learnings over the past year, we've decided to launch an iterated business model. Artisan and Fox will relaunch in early 2017.
The view over Lakeside, in Pokhara, Nepal in July, 2015
We're glad to have successfully concluded our pilot with over 15 artisans across Nepal. After months of collaboration with the artisans, and the journey of bootstrapping our way through has been a fantastic learning journey for our team. To discover our pilot makers, we explored the ancient city of Bhaktapur, the bustling Kathmandu, to the beautiful lakeside town of Pokhara. Our Nepali friends and the Himalayas have been kind to us so far.
Prem's artisanal crafts have since improved from the past year we've been working together
We're also happy to have been able to help share the artisans' beautiful crafts with you. For most of the artisans, it's the first time their items have been brought online. We've since sold out most of the pilot items, but you can still find some of the remaining products available on the web-store until our official re-launch in the new year.
This past summer was also spent forging new grassroot partnerships with artisans in other developing nations. We've been fortunate to have met and collaborated with other social enterprises and NGOs in the artisan sector. I was also fortunate to have had the opportunity to pitch Artisan and Fox at the Youth Assembly at the United Nations in New York City.
We've also expanded our team over the summer, with our new Growth Lead (Laura) and Creative Lead (Sy). With Laura and Sy's help, expect to discover new artisanal gems from the likes of Kenya, the Philippines, Bangladesh and the Mediterranean region in early 2017.
Each piece will remain truly handmade, and each of your purchase will continue to reaffirm the dreams of its maker.
In the UN General Assembly. It was an exhilarating experience to have presented what we do in NYC!
With Prem in his workshop in Bhaktapur just last month
We also revisited Nepal last month to visit our pilot partner artisans. Prem, our partner artisan in Bhaktapur, excitedly shared with us how happy he was that his rings have been available on the internet. His sterling silver rings have travelled thousands of miles -from his tiny workshop in the Newar city, to be serendipitously loved and treasured by people all the across the globe. Over a year on, I'm still wearing the first ring he made for us every day.
We also visited the women artisans in Pokhara, of the Kriayt Social Business. Anne has taught the women artisans to make contemporary, new crochet doll designs!
Meeting our partner artisans in person again has also reaffirmed our commitment to artisan empowerment and ethical prices. We've seen and felt how the artisan sector can empower women and men by giving opportunity. We remain dedicated to helping artisan micro-enteprises expand.
As always, our mission and vision remain the same: to empower underprivileged artisans in developing nations through global market access and fair ethical prices.
We're also happy to have pioneered a paradigm shift in the way businesses operate: by committing to giving the makers a fair share of the profits. We've been sharing 50% of our profits from each sale with the artisan makers since we've launched. And this won't change in the future.
Often, artisan exploitation and extortion worldwide has been made in the efforts to maximise profit margins for shareholders. By pegging artisan remuneration with the profits of each sale (i.e. 50/50 profit share), we eliminate any such conflicts of interest with the makers. We think this is an incredibly powerful thing, and we hope this will help businesses re-imagine the way they operate.
Co-founder and Team Leader, Artisan and Fox