MarketPlace: Handwork of India
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a non-profit fair trade organization
MarketPlace: Handwork of India is a pioneering nonprofit that empowers women in India to break the cycle of poverty, as they become leaders in their work, their homes, and their neighborhoods, and effect lasting change in their communities. In MarketPlace’s comprehensive and creative organization, economic development is only the first step for these brave and resourceful women.
We work with over 400 artisans who are organized into 11 independent co-operatives that produce high-quality women’s apparel and home decor. They learn skills such as sewing and embroidery, and participate in all aspects of running the cooperatives. In addition, programs offer educational and enrichment opportunities designed to help the artisans overcome personal, cultural and financial obstacles.
As they become more self-confident, they become agents of change themselves, ensuring that their children receive educations and organizing social programs in their neighborhoods. The artisans become leaders and role models in their families and communities not only for the first time in their lives, but for the first time in generations.
MarketPlace: Handwork of India works with over 400 artisans, most of whom are women, who are organized into 11 independent cooperatives in India. Four of these cooperatives are Fabric Artisans, who dye our custom fabrics using an array of traditional techniques including hand block printing, ikat, batik and tie-dye. The other seven are the Artisan Cooperatives, where the fabric is cut, sewn and hand embroidered to complete the products.
The different cooperatives vary in size, structure, history and location. The common thread is adherence to the principle that the women are involved in decision-making at all levels of the business, and that they can plan and execute programs that enhance their lives and make a difference for their families and their communities. An artisan must meet certain criteria to qualify to join any of the cooperatives. These would include a background of economic hardship and limited access to employment opportunities in the general community. Many of these women have been deprived of educational opportunities, and some have faced hostility and discrimination due to their religion, marital status, or health.
What they all share, however, is a desire to become strong and independent. The design process brings members of the different groups together as they collaborate on the planning, production and delivery involved in each MarketPlace collection. There is a relationship of support and respect between all the cooperatives as the artisans build their own successful businesses.
MarketPlace launches two collections of garments and accessories a year, Spring and Fall. You can request a paper copy of the catalog here. To shop online, visit the sections below:
If you have a retail shop or boutique, consider carrying MarketPlace as a supplier! Find wholesale info here.