Introducing the first Artisan led, global marketplace.
Created by Returned Peace Corps Volunteers - connecting the artisan community directly to you!
- Shop Global: Free yourself from borders with our digital shopping passport. You no longer need to travel to a country to bring its influence into your life.
- Buy Direct: The artisans set their own prices. They are in control of what they earn for their work, and they benefit from a global community of customers purchasing and reviewing their products.
- Change the Story: Artisans are entrepreneurs, ready for the opportunity to share their unique creations with the global marketplace. With one click, you can engage with the most talented individuals on the planet. Empower them to manage their own success and share cultural goods across the world.
We are currently on the ground in Paraguay, Ecuador, Chile and Guatemala. Together with the Artisan Community, both established and up and coming, we are creating an online marketplace where global goods can be made available to anyone - no passport required! Giving the artisan direct access to the site, they can remove the need for a middleman and sell their products directly to you!
We are starting in Central and South America because we live here. With your support, this idea will go global.
Our talented community of artisans have designed and crafted some amazing products just for you! They are beyond excited for the opportunity to showcase their creations with the rest of the world and can't wait for their one of a kind items to arrive at your doorstep!
Your pledge is the first step to empowering artisans and granting them fair access to the global market. Take a look at these incredible handmade items and help us change the story!
Thank you note / Eternal Gratitude - Pledge $10
Artezanz Swag / E-Passport / E-Brick - Pledge $25
Notebook - Guatemala - Pledge $35
Artisans of "Ami San Lucas". Select one of these colorful notebooks below. *We'll follow up on your color preference at the completion of the Kickstarter: Blue, Green, Yellow or Purple.
Lapus Lazuli Earrings - Chile - Pledge $35
Artisan Manuel Cerda
Tagua Necklace - Ecuador - Pledge $55
Artisan Javier Pincay. Select one of these beautiful handmade tagua necklaces below - A or B. *We'll follow up for your necklace preference at the completion of the Kickstarter.
Filigree Stud Earrings - Paraguay - Pledge $60
Artisan Dominguez Jewelry
Tagua Jewelry Set - Ecuador - Pledge $75
Artisan Javier Pincay
Customized Tagua Necklace - Ecuador - Pledge $85
Artisan Javier Pincay. An incredibly unique experience! You'll work with our artisan to create your own design for a tagua necklace! You'll choose the colors, the look, the feel, and our artisan will bring your idea to life! A true one of a kind necklace design!
Mother's Day Special - Tagua Necklace + Earrings - Pledge $90
Your choice of earrings (1 or 2) and necklace (A or B) pictured below. You'll also receive a personal Happy Mother's Day video from the Artezanz team, including personal messages from our artisans! We'll follow up with you to get your choices at the completion of the Kickstarter.
Handwoven Scarf - Ecuador - Pledge $95
Artisan Olga Fisch. Select one of these lovely handmade scarves. *We'll follow up for your scarf preference at the end of the Kickstarter. Please choose between A, B, or C pictured below. You will also be able to elect between an infinity scarf style and a regular scarf style.
Palm / Multi-Colored Clutch Purse - Paraguay - Pledge $105
Artisan Warany. Choose between the multi-colored clutch - Pink stripe (A) or Green stripe (B) or the Ivy Palm (C). *We'll follow up to get your preference at the completion of the Kickstarter.
Artisan Rug Set / Virtual Tour - Paraguay - Pledge $115
Artisan Arena Fina. 2 rugs - Medium and Large sizes - various color schemes available
Warany Beach Bag - Paraguay - Pledge $125
Artisan Warany. Select one of these beautifully crafted beach bags. *We'll follow up for your preference at the end of the Kickstarter. Please choose between black (A), pink (B) or green (C) pictured below.
Handmade Hammock - Ecuador - Pledge $130
Artisan Miguel Coronado. Select one of these relaxing handmade hammocks. *We'll follow up for your hammock preference at the end of the Kickstarter, please choose between A (green), B (blue), or C (red) pictured below.
Panama Hat - Ecuador - Pledge $140
Artisan Homero Ortega. Select one of these stylish Panama Hats. *We'll follow up for your preference at the completion of the Kickstarter. Please choose between A, B, or C pictured below. You will also elect a hat size, please refer to the sizing chart below.
Bamboo Shigra Clutch - Ecuador - Pledge $195
Artisan Olga Fisch. Select one of these authentic clutch purses. *We'll follow up for your preference at the completion of the Kickstarter, please choose between (A) white (B) blue or (C) purple pictured below.
Choose any 2 items!! - Pledge $250
Choose any 3 items!! - Pledge $350
Choose any 4 items!! - Pledge $500
Choose any 4 items + 1 customized item - Pledge $1,000
Made from naturally sourced, organic South American palm leaves, Warany is an independently owned small business - led by a talented young Paraguayan designer who blends century old weaving techniques into a fashion statement that transcends borders.
It's difficult to encapsulate the vibrant and colorful characteristics of South America - but Arena Fina makes it look easy.
Using the Paraguayan Poyvi technique, the artisans of Arena Fina transform 100% recycled cotton into breathtaking home decor - rugs, table runners, pillows, and countless other products.
This work provides financial security for countless women in the countryside of Paraguay.
The century old techniques of stringing out sterling silver and manipulating it into eloquent fine jewelry is a skill only the patient and disciplined ever master.
Darío Dominguez has perfected the skills his father taught him. Generational knowledge presented in the form of fine jewelry and a successful small business, Darío dreams of sharing this technique with others and keeping the dying tradition alive. -- Watch the video to see the process up close!
"So much of what we have today is simply mass-produced, cheap imitations of items people make by hand, all over the world." - Dominguez Jewelry
Olga Fisch Folklore
Olga Fisch was a Hungarian artist who immigrated to Ecuador in 1939, and fell in love with Ecuadorian folk culture. She was mesmerized by the colors and textures, and began to curate the first popular art collection in Ecuador. Olga worked closely with indigenous artists, melding traditional crafts with fine art. Her mission was to empower artisans while preserving their identity and assist them in the creation of unique designs.
After more than 75 years Olga Fisch is a company that has been managed by four generations of women, and is now the home to more than 1,000 artisans and designers who innovate while preserving their cultural identity. Olga Fisch's collections have been featured in the Smithsonian Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
“In collecting folk art, one must look not for antiquity, but authenticity. Beyond that, it is a question of emotional response.” Olga Fisch.
Casa de las Hamacas
Miguel Coronado has been handcrafting hammocks for over 15 years. He learned the art of sewing when he worked as a tailor in a small shop in Quito, Ecuador. His shift to making hammocks emerged when he saw an opportunity around rising tourism along Ecuador's coast.
His business began by selling hammocks on the side of the road in popular tourist spots along the coast. He provided a photo from 15 years ago and describes with great emotion how proud he is of his humble beginnings and where his business is today.
Miguel and his wife Reina now reside in the quiet coastal town of Libertador Bolivar, here the skill of their craft is being passed down to their children who represent the next generation of artisans.
If you thought the Panama Hat originated in Panama, you would be mistaken. The iconic Panama Hat was born in Ecuador.
So why not "Ecuador Hat"? Well, the construction of the Panama Canal caused a great demand for toquilla straw hats from Ecuador, because of their qualities to protect from the sun. Thus, given the international visibility of the Panama Canal, the hat was widely seen and soon people began to call it “Panama Hat” even though the place of origin is Ecuador.
In its fifth generation, the Ortega family has perfected the craft of making Panama Hats, which makes them the oldest and most experienced company in the production of Panama Hats. The Homero Ortega brand encompasses both traditional styles and modern artistic designs.
Taller Artesanal Pincay
Tagua jewelry is one of the most popular handmade goods in Ecuador. Tagua is a hard, solid white nut that grows on a species of palm tree found in the tropical forests along Ecuador's coast. It is referred to as organic ivory because once dried, it can be carved and closely resembles and feels like ivory.
The art of tagua carving has been a passion of artisan Javier Pincay since he was 18 years old, he's now 36. He resides in the small town of Sitio Nuevo, around 700 inhabitants, with his wife and 5 beautiful children. Javier's designs are some of the most unique creations in Ecuador, and he embodies a great appreciation for the artisanal community. He specializes in crafting necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and figurines.
Watch the video below to get an up close look of Javier in action!
Artisan Manuel Cerda
Artisan Manuel Cerda from Padre Hurtado in Chile has been working with jewelry his whole life. He initially learned the trade from his family, but has taken different classes throughout his lifetime to specialize his skills and teach his apprentices. He works with a variety of different materials and styles. Each piece of jewelry that comes from Manuel's workshop is handmade by Manuel himself or one of his apprentices. They carefully and delicately select the materials that go into making each product unique and special.
Ami San Lucas
Financial independence is so often taken for granted. And the plight others face can sometimes make us reflect on how lucky we actually are. Hand crafted and enthusiastically designed, these journals provide much needed stability and hope for female artisans in a small community in Guatemala.
Our goal is $20,000. That is no small figure.
We will use that money to build an interactive e-commerce platform and get this business up and running.
There is so much we have planned to do. The more backers we have, the more we can accomplish. We can't wait to bring you along with us on this journey and share with you all of the behind the scenes experiences of starting a new business that promotes social change!
Easy!!! If this project sounds like something you would like to support, consider our reward tiers and donate!!!
While you're at it - Share this Kickstarter on Facebook and with 3 other people you think would be interested!
Every one of these items are unique and completely handmade. This means a lot of time and effort was put into these products. This also means that not every item will arrive exactly as it appears in the photos.
Our goal is to formulate a community to help us make this marketplace a reality. We have experience through the Peace Corps but it takes a village.
Our backers will be vital not only in this Kickstarter, but in the success of the business. We want to do this together with the community of supporters we find through this campaign.
**Join us on this trip. We'll put your name on the website and share exclusive video/photo content as we move forward.**
Community Box Shipping
One of the many challenges global artisans face in reaching the world market is the cost of shipping. International shipping is very expensive and will often turn away a potential buyer. In addition, it is often challenging for artisans to bring their products to the office of the shipping agent which may be in a town that is far away.
Our solution is the Artezanz Community Box. Under this option, customers will have the opportunity to share shipping costs with other buyers from their country region, and thus pay a much lower rate to receive their international purchases. See below for more detail around our "Community Boxes".
Direct Sales Model
Many international artisans, especially those who live in rural communities, are not able to reach the global markets. This is due to numerous factors…technological limitations, logistical constraints, and lack of financial resources, to name a few. We’ve seen firsthand the beauty that can be discovered in these hidden parts of the world and we deemed it essential to develop a business model that would allow artisans from anywhere on the globe to sell directly to the end customer. Global artisans need partnerships much more than they need charity.
Our business model reflects our commitment to help artisans address the obstacles they face in reaching the global market and enabling them with the resources to manage their own success! See below for an in-depth look at our "Direct Sales Model".
Artisans will set their own prices and deliver their beautiful handmade goods directly to you, Artezanz is not a reseller platform.
Our revenue model ties to transactional volume, where we earn a commission for items sold through the Artezanz platform. This fee will help cover the administrative costs of operating the business, more specifically the costs associated with website maintenance, logistics, supplies, training materials, and other overhead expenses.
Kevin Ryterski, Co-Founder
I spent the first 10 years of my professional career working in the corporate finance sector. While I greatly value the experience I gained during my time working in this field, internally I knew I was destined to walk a different path. In 2015, my wife (Clare) and I decided to pursue our long-time dream of serving as Peace Corps volunteers and left for Paraguay to begin 27 months of service. This experience was life-changing in the sense that I found my calling to work in international development, and also in the literal sense as our son Leo was born in Paraguay. Shortly after finishing our Peace Corps service, we moved to Ecuador with the goal of continuing to work in economic development. We are beyond excited for Artezanz and truly believe it can be the partnership that empowers many artisans around the world! Please join us on this journey!
Stephen McBay, Co-Founder
It's an astounding thing to be working on your dreams. From a small rural town in Pennsylvania, to attending college in Memphis - I didn't actually believe I would follow my passion and join the Peace Corps. Luckily, life has a way of pushing you in the right direction. Fast forward three years. The ability to live abroad, share culture and focus on economic development for others has been the most satisfying experience of my life. Now, with my fiancé next to me, I am doubling down on this feeling. I have no way to express how excited I am for the future of this business and the community it will help empower. I look forward to building Artezanz with the support of our team and backers like you!
The collective view of the developing world is not a fair one. Emerging economies are not just defined by poverty. In fact, they are vibrant, successful and diverse markets with rich cultural heritage and values.
Nothing embodies this reality more than the global artisanal community. Artisanal production is the 2nd highest employer in the developing world behind agriculture, and it provides financial security for countless families. It is the source of some of the most unique, cultural and awe-inspiring artwork human kind has been able to produce.
Until now, Artisans have been limited to selling their goods to retailers for a fraction of the price they could get themselves.
This project is going to increase the living standards of countless families around the world, while sharing cultural goods that were once completely off limits to the general public.
Risks and challenges
Our principal risk/challenge is found in shipping/custom fees and red tape. This is no secret. However, we believe that with perseverance and creativity, we can overcome this obstacle.
A second challenge is the access to raw materials and production time the artisan community will likely face. These products are coming directly from Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala and Paraguay. The people making them are real. The materials and techniques used are not friendly to mass production.
While this presents an obstacle, it is also one of the attractive features of this business and this service. These products are art. Art is not mass produced.
Additionally, working with the artisan community requires mutual respect and cultural understanding. Each member of this team lives in the community in which these items are produced. We speak the language. We understand the culture. The Artezanz model is based on community and teamwork. We are partners to the artisan community. Nothing more, nothing less.
The final principal challenge is the unknown unknowns. Starting a business, especially one that transcends borders, presents many challenges that are difficult to solve until they appear. Luckily, our team is experienced in international development and working under stressful conditions. We have every bit of confidence that we will meet every challenge, and as a community, succeed.
*This Kickstarter/business does not represent the United States Peace Corps. The work we are doing is our own. Our thoughts and opinions are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States government.*Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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