It’s been over a year since my social enterprise had the privilege of being featured by COINS Foundation. Since then, we’ve come a long way. Artisan & Fox started as a small online store built on a budget of US$100. Now, we are working with over a hundred artisans in five developing countries, and in the month of April alone we made US$26,000+ in sales!

So what do we do?

Artisan & Fox is an ethical online marketplace that seeks to empower artisans across the developing world. We are a holistic for-profit social enterprise that helps artisans overcome the challenges of selling globally: from the legalities of dealing with customs, figuring out the complexity of international delivery processes, and marketing their beautiful craft to compete with global brands. Currently, we have partnerships with artisans in five developing nations, including; Afghanistan, Guatemala, Nepal, Mexico and Kenya.

Our chief aim is to unlock the potential of artisan micro-enterprises in developing economies, by connecting them to global markets.

A photo of me with Prem in Bhaktapur, Nepal earlier this year (January 2017). He was our first artisan partner to launch on our platform - shortly after this he was able to refurbish his entire shop-house!

The artisan sector remains the second largest employer in developing countries, with immense potential for sustainable development. Craftsmanship has the potential to reinvigorate declining economies in rural and peri-urban areas. Beyond employment, we also simply believe in the beauty of preserving cultural techniques; techniques with decades of history and a sense of timeless beauty.

This coming year will be exciting for us, as we expand our team to scale up our social and commercial arms hand-in-hand. In our social program pipeline, we’re kick starting our Artisan Sustainability Programme to help artisans improve the sustainability of their production methods by incentivizing the use of more eco-friendly materials such as organic cotton, and teaching artisans about zero-waste and circularity methods. We are also launching a Women Artisan Micro-Loan Scheme to provide zero-interest micro-loans to women artisans. The micro-loan scheme will have a unique evergreen aspect where instead of repaying their loans to Artisan & Fox, the repayments will be kept and passed on to another woman within the same community in a pay-it-forward model.

Our women artisan partners in Pokhara, Nepal.

I am grateful to COINS Foundation for the opportunity to share our progress and Abigail’s generous advice on crowd funding the Cookie Bus that helped us smash our recent crowd funding campaign goal.

We remain committed to helping local artisan enterprises thrive. Hopefully in another year we’ll have more milestones to share on our social impact. We’re currently in the midst of planning a partnership with a co-operative to be led by Syrian women refugees – watch this space!

Craftsmanship from Afghanistan, handcrafted by an extraordinary artisan named Saeeda.