NEW YORK CITY, NY – On August 17th, Aid to Artisans (ATA) kicked off its summer Market Readiness Program (MRP) during NY Now, formerly New York International Gift Fair. Twenty-six participants from around the world attended the MRP, representing organizations from Mexico, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Guatemala and the US. They successfully completed the 4 ½ day intensive training program, which covered key topics essential in preparation for entry into the US market and building a successful export business.
Throughout the four and a half days, the MRP participants learned from experienced consultants as they shared their knowledge on the analysis of the US market, product development, color and design trends, distribution channels, internet marketing, planning for production control, costing and pricing, green and sustainability and building buyer relationships.
“The MRP was really useful for us. It gave us a whole perspective of what the market expects and how to improve the process from production to the market,” said Gemma Martinez Solis, one of the participants representing Artemateria.
In addition to classroom presentations, the consultants provided product reviews and facilitated group discussions for the team project. A panel of esteemed buyers shared their experiences working in the artisan sector and addressed participants’ questions and business concerns. On the last day, the participants went on guided retail store tours in New York City with the consultants.
“We have a lot of homework to do,” said Guadalupe Ramirez, the director of AMA (La Asociacion de Mujeres del Altiplano or The Highland Women Association). “It’s not going to be easy but at the same time all the things I learned will put us on a path where there are different lights turning on, looking at a brighter picture of how this industry works.”
Meanwhile, during the NY Now show, ATA’s booth featured products Burkina Faso, Benin, Mali, and Mexico in the Handmade Global Design Galleria. With the implementation of its new marketing strategy of linking artisan groups and exporters from ATA programs to US importers, ATA partnered with the Village Artisanal de Ouagadougou from Burkina Faso to export all the products from West Africa and link them to Swahili Imports as the importer. Respectively, all the products from Mexico were imported by Abrazo Style.
At the end first day of the MRP, old and new ATA faces gathered together at the cocktail reception with food and drinks as Bill Kruvant, President of Creative Learning, welcomed everyone and presented ATA’s new projects and partners. His wife, Charito, also shared a few words, thanking everyone in attendance for their support. (To watch their speeches, see the right sidebar)
On the following evening, Clare Brett Smith, founder of ATA, was honored at the Artisan Resource welcome reception at Pier 94 for her leadership and commitment in the artisan sector. She was awarded the first ever Artisan Hero Award by the Alliance for Artisan Enterprise.
To see more photos of ATA’s booth at NY Now, visit our Facebook page.
If you’re interested in participating in the next MRP, which will be on August 16-20, 2014, please stay tuned for more information on how to apply.
If you’re interested in importing for ATA, please contact ATA Senior Program Manager, Maud Mabika: email@example.com