Artisan pathways to US markets
Some of the tools we use:
- Build a pathway to develop leaders from within
- Develop a culture that supports each other
- Culture is your touchstone – Include color, motifs, myths, techniques and materials that celebrate your culture
- Give your women social and economic opportunity
- Think like entrepreneurs
- Master the technique. Train artisans. Establish quality control
- Equip artisans with tools of good design
- Make the product unique in the marketplace
- Develop objective framework for assessing work
- Where does it fit in the global marketplace?
- Refine, design and develop product
- Develop line of inventory & price structure. Do sales support a living wage?
- Sales and marketing
- Best practices
- Explore retail sales venues in the US
- Retail outlets
- Wholesale opportunities
Initial Question: What sizes should my scarves be? How much should I charge customers in the US for my line of handmade scarves?
Outcome: Build a line of scarves that is diverse in size, color and price point that will appeal to a broad audience.
Initial Question: What would make my pieces more valuable to customers? What details should be added or taken away to reach a price point?
Outcome: Analyze product features based on cost and perceived outcome to maximize product value.
Initial Question: Will US customers buy my maroon, gold and black colored rugs for their living room?
Outcome: I can remain true to my cultural identity but appeal to the aesthetics of the US customer.
Case Study: Boucherouite weavers in southern Morocco
Moroccan Boucherouite rag rugs were invented by Moroccan women weavers in the last century out of necessity. The women needed rugs for their own homes, and they needed to save the wool from sheep for commercial rugs … so the boucherouite rug was born. Knotted rugs made from the scraps from the tailors in the Medina of Marrakech … they were durable, washable, and made everyone smile with their riot of bold color.
Initial Question: How could these rugs be even more appealing in the US market?
Outcome: Invest in the artisans and offer a three-day workshop that introduces design concepts and nurtures the artist in them. Give each rug a color scheme … use the color wheel and select colors that work together in home decor. Add traditional symbols and motifs that make these rugs uniquely Moroccan and Berber. Bring the women together so they can nurture each other. The results were amazing. Some confided that it was the first class they had ever attended.
Interested in taking your work to the next level? Contact us. Tell us about your work. Share your goals and together we can make a plan.
Mary Anne Wise