We nurture a critical mass of talented, dedicated women (most who have only had 1 or 2 years of formal education) and ensure they all have regular, reliable work and income. The physical and psychological security this gives is unmeasurable.
Women come to work in their own village and feel proud to be part of such a strong sisterhood. As their self -confidence grows, they learn to have a voice (in many aspects of their lives) and negotiate both within their own personal lives as well as at work.
Our emphasis is on building independence and creating certainty for the artisans themselves, their children and their families. Our workplaces focus on strong peer support networks to ensure independent thinking and confidence. We empower women to make their own decisions and to be in charge of their lives. Our priorities are to:
- Provide regular work
Consumers purchase different items at different times for different needs. We all like to try new things as well as repeat ingrained habits. Choice is the most fantastic part of our world. If there’s too much choice, we can’t decide. Too little choice and we feel imprisoned. However, when our income revolves around fickle consumer behaviour and impulse buying, life becomes quite tricky. Naturally, because of consumer behaviour, fashion brands order different quantities and different styles every season. How can we create a sound business model to support female artisans from rural villages that need regular income to feed themselves and educate their children; and still provide for fashion brands and reach consumers that really love and appreciate their talent? Hence The Artisan Nation was born. Members of the nation enable all the artisans from rural villages to be provided with regular work and a stable income. They also help us with distributing the talent of our ladies. Their gift is invaluable.
- Ensure individual smartphone use and proficiency
Quality control is always an issue for any manufacturing (regardless if the items being made are in small or large quantities). This is especially the case in India. Having standards is one of the side benefits of going to school. If no one ever guides you as to what is acceptable and what is not, how would one ever know? When each knitter has a smartphone, not only can she have help for quality along the way, it makes the process most engaging for the consumer. It also ensures that she is more independent and can not only access more work but also communicate and learn. Most artisans either have no phone or their husband’s flip phone. Sadly, this means their calls are monitored. By giving (and/or sharing) smartphones, the life of an artisan changes forever.
- Enhance financial literacy
98% of artisan families are in debt so much that they can never see an end. Most villagers have lenders that charge exorbitant interest rates and gamble the money of fellow villagers. The ladies, in general, have no concept of saving and if they do not contribute to village celebrations (even if they can’t afford it), the punishment is frequently quite brutal. The debt arises from many different circumstances. Borrowing money for food when income is not reliable, having no money because their husband spends it on alcohol, sending your child to school when they can’t really afford it because of the shame associated with such a decision. The list is long. The provision of mentoring from reliable members of The Artisan Nation is life-changing for the families. They will experience a level of empowerment that has never been felt before.
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