Far & Wide Collective celebrates two years of business today.
Last year, on our first year anniversary, we laid out some goals for the coming year.
Here’s how we did.
In the past year we bought products from artisans in three new countries - Ghana, Colombia, and Morocco (hyperlink?) – and began working on projects in South Sudan, Yemen, and Tajikistan. We also added additional artisans in countries we were already working in – Afghanistan, India, Kenya, and Swaziland. We now are working with nearly 300 artisans in 15 countries, a huge increase from our launch in May 2013, which began with 40 artisans in three countries.
More importantly, we’ve been able to re-order products from many of the artisans we already worked with. Products like the Kantha Scarves from House of Wandering Silk in India, the Studs from Shugufa Yousofzai in Afghanistan, and Baskets from the Kasigau Weavers have sold out and been re-ordered many times over. We are happy to connect these talented artisans to markets where there is clearly demand for their product.
We have also been working on helping artisans with product development, tweaking their designs or providing new designs, to help them sell more and grow their businesses. We are excited that several of the designs we have worked on together will be coming to life this year, and look forward to telling you more about these projects soon.
Another big project which finally came to fruition this year is the Artisan Toolkit – a richly illustrated training manual using local cartoons and other visual cues to outline the value chain and show artisans the path to markets for their handmade products. We launched the Toolkit in Kabul in April, training 200 artisans and distributing nearly 2000 copies. We hope this Toolkit will eventually be distributed worldwide to all artisans who require assistance reaching markets.
As we enter our third year, our goal is to strengthen connections across the board, from ourselves to our artisans, and our artisans to our customers. This means reinforcing our commitment to our artisans and doing more to help grow their businesses. It also means bringing the artisan and customer closer together by allowing the artisans' stories to be told and showcasing the impact these purchases have in our artisans' lives.
Thank you to all our customers, friends, and partners who have made our first two years so great – we look forward to many more!