At the beginning of this year, my sweet, future sister-in-law visited Colombia for the first time. In planning our few days together, she mentioned that she wanted to go shopping. Of course, what do we do? We take her to buy shoes in San Francisco, a shoe-making suburb of Bucaramanga. It is one of Colombia’s shoe-making hubs, with generations of people working on the craft, in store settings as well as from their homes.
My own grandfather had a small shoe factory, Calzado Super. He raised 11 children on the craft and even employed some of his brothers, whose families were also supported by the craft. My father worked with him and handmade two shoes per day (It’s no wonder he loves shoes and passed on the love to us; my husband cringes every time I bring a new pair home. Can you relate?).
Micro-enterprises sustaining communities; it seems like a thing of the past. Well, not quite…Despite the fact that open-trade has impacted the numbers of micro-enterprise makers throughout the world, there are some very passionate, highly-skilled makers that have continued to craft and sell their amazing products. And even-though their margins have deteriorated and many live on only $4 to $6 per day ($120 - $180 per month) due to supply chain pressures to keep prices low, they still manage to employ people and sustain families. The makers in the picture above, work form the back of their storefront (without air-conditioning, hence shirtless). They were working on an order for a Costa-Rican client and were beaming with excitement.
We want more happy, maker faces, beaming with joy because they are finding new markets that help to better sustain themselves, their employees and communities.
My husband and I are both deeply connected to this maker world. We feel a tremendous respect of people who have kept their skill and work alive, despite competing with poor-quality, low-priced products dumped in their markets.
We strongly believe it is time to bring these products back to our markets. Products that are truly well-made, crafted with passion, and that sustain communities. That is the mission of our business, KRIndustries.co, a for-profit, social impact startup.
Our model is to bring amazing, high-quality, everyday goods and tools directly from the makers to online retail, allowing us to give access and opportunity to skilled-makers in the developing world. Our goal is to improve their living standards, make a decent profit for ourselves and bring back great quality products to our customers (without breaking the bank). Something that is completely possible with online retail and by consciously profiting from shared prosperity.
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The Maker World aims to promote sustainable livelihoods and preserving maker trades, slow fashion style. To that end, a minimum of 10% of our sales revenue goes to incentivizing new talent, providing tools, education, training, support, and apprenticing for individual makers or maker communities. This year you've contributed to the fulfillment of a dream and entrepreneurial incubation of clothing designer, natural talent, and single mother Leidy Johanna Meneses from Barichara, Colombia. We've mentored, advised, and provided entrepreneurial and financial support for her to fulfill her first clothing collection launch.
She's now selling this collection in her hometown and is available to design custom styles by contacting her on Facebook page, @WonderfulladyDesigns. She's now equipped with ability and know-how on how to build her own custom-design business. Your support has made this possible and together we thank you for contributing to sustainable livelihoods, and skills development and preservation.
The UN reports that "470 million jobs are needed globally for new entrants to the labour market between 2016 and 2030."
When one considers the daunting numbers needed to sustain a future generation working, we can feel dejected, but we can't give up; we need to unite.
It really takes a village to meet these global needs for our future generations; a real challenge that needs to be faced through Human Solidarity and action from retailers, customers, and makers. The Maker World, has chosen to step up to the plate as a conscious business that pays fair market value, contributes back to makers and their communities, and gives customers excellent quality goods and an opportunity to contribute to this effort, through better purchases.
In commemoration of International Mountain Day we honor Ana Felicia, Cooking Ceramics Maker...
When I met Ana Felicia in 2016, her beautiful #Maker demeanor shone through like a breath of fresh air. She was ready to show us her stock of pots, pans, skillets, and plates. The 85 year old Alfarera works squatting on a stool, on top of a wooden surface and solely by hand without a pottery wheel. Just manipulation of clay, water, patience, love, and skills. She's the last of a generation of #ceramicsmakers that kept her region's mountain families cooking in one of the most natural and ancient ways: #handmadepottery