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[April 08, 2014]
Introducing Artisan Connect, the First Online Marketplace Featuring High Quality Home Decor Made by Artisans in Developing Countries
(Marketwire Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) WOODSIDE, CA -- (Marketwired) -- 04/08/14 -- Artisan Connect announced that artisanconnect.com is open for business. It is the first online marketplace featuring high quality home décor items made by artisans in developing countries.
Artisan Connect offers carefully curated, limited quantity home accent pieces such as pillows, throws, picture frames, baskets and carvings, hand crafted by artisans in Latin America, India, Africa and Southeast Asia.
"We created Artisan Connect to make a difference in the lives of the people behind the crafts," said Amanda North, Artisan Connect CEO and founder. "Many of these artisans have told me they could be the last generation practicing their ancestral handiwork. By creating access to customers who value their wares and celebrating the beauty and individual craftsmanship of their work our goal is to help sustain the artisans in their traditional livelihood." "Artisan enterprise is an integral part of communities especially in developing countries," said Peggy Clark, executive director of the Aspen Institute's Alliance for Artisan Enterprise. "Approximately 70 percent of artisans are women. In India alone 7 million artisans make a living using traditional skills and techniques to create handmade products. Organizations like Artisan Connect that drive revenue for these artisans not only make a huge difference in the lives of individuals but can help support the economic health of entire regions." Amanda's path to founding Artisan Connect was an unfathomable journey in its own right. Last April, Amanda was at the finish line of the Boston Marathon watching her daughter run when the first bomb exploded 15 feet directly behind her. In a flash, she was propelled from spectator to Good Samaritan, credited with saving the life of the stranger who had been standing next to her. Amanda's injuries healed, but her life changed forever. The Marathon became a catalyst for Amanda to veer off her 30-year career as a high tech marketing executive and create Artisan Connect, to follow her passions and make a difference.
Artisan Connect is a social venture that ensures a fair portion of the price of its products goes to the artisans to help sustain, or improve, their traditional livelihood. In building Artisan Connect, Amanda has taken a Silicon Valley business approach, attracting sophisticated investors, employing innovative technology, leveraging partners, and focusing on scaling. However, the success of Artisan Connect will be measured not only by its return to investors but its impact on lives. A cadre of tremendously accomplished people and partners has gravitated to Artisan Connect, sharing Amanda's aspiration to do well by doing good.
Artisan Connect has raised significant seed funding to execute upon its vision. Two of its investors are private individuals who are widely respected in the financial services space and endorse the company's social mission. The company's third funding source is Serious Change L.P., an impact investment fund that invests in early-stage companies committed to environmental sustainability, biodiversity, advancing social justice, and meeting human needs.
"We invested in Artisan Connect because we support their model of sourcing exclusively from non-profits, artisan collectives and other organizations that ensure a fair wage is paid to the artisans," said Josh Mailman, managing director of Serious Change. "I've been interested in the artisan sector for some time. This area is poised for strong growth. By focusing on a defined market space, driving efficiencies and employing new technologies, we believe Artisan Connect can be a major player in this arena and benefit the lives of many people around the world." About Artisan ConnectArtisan Connect is the first online marketplace featuring high quality home décor items made by artisans in developing countries. Artisan Connect is a social venture dedicated to helping sustain artisans in their traditional livelihood. We source exclusively from non-profits, artisan collectives and other organizations that ensure a fair wage is paid to the artisans.
In addition to purchasing product, visitors to our marketplace engage with artisans by reading their stories, visiting, volunteering or donating. Our vision in building this community is that all may thrive and the priceless tradition of regional crafts will live on. For more information, visit artisanconnect.com.
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