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MarketPlace: Handwork of India

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MarketPlace 2015 artisans

MarketPlace: Handwork of India, Behind the Scenes…

 

 

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MarketPlace: Handwork of India is an innovative non-profit fair trade organization that has provided economic opportunities for low-income women in India since 1986. Fourteen artisan-owned cooperatives in India comprised of over 480 artisans produce high-quality women\’s apparel and home décor items which are subsequently sold through catalogs, website and select stores throughout the U.S. Women are involved in design workshops, executing plans for production, the entire quality control, and managing the transfer of skills.

 

MarketPlace is known for its use of designs and fabrics that reflect our Indian origins. Our clothing silhouettes adapt Asian garments for our American customers, resulting in unique pieces that are comfortable and chic. Our fabrics are also extra special. We work directly with the fabric producers to design exclusive fabrics using a variety of traditional Indian hand dyeing techniques. The large amount of hand work required serves two purposes. First of all, it provides employment for more artisans, who carve blocks, tie threads, print and dye. Secondly, it helps preserve some of India\’s rich textile traditions, with all their history and culture, not a machine-printed imitation.

 

The other major influences on MarketPlace style are the skills and needs of the artisans. Our signature hand embroidery not only lends a special touch to our clothing and home goods, but it also allows the women to work from home. Many of the artisans are mothers who must look after their small children as well as take care of domestic chores. Hand embroidery also helps artisans get a quick start in the cooperative, since the embroidery is easy to learn.

 

Mission

MarketPlace: Handwork of India is dedicated to not only increasing economic opportunities for women artisans in India, but to empowering them to bring about changes in their lives, the lives of their families, and their communities. Being in charge of their own businesses, the women learn valuable skills and are able to earn a living and support their families. In addition, programs offer educational and enrichment opportunities designed to help the artisans overcome personal, cultural and financial obstacles. Empowered with independence and self-confidence, these women become agents of change. And they find the courage, with the support of their cooperative members, to fight for what they believe in. Asserting themselves as decision-makers in their families, they have kept their children in school and out of early marriages, thus ensuring them a better future. They have also become social activists, using the skills they have learned in the workplace to improve conditions in their communities.
Founder Pushpika Freitas speaks about MarketPlace.

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