How The Artisan Trend Fuels Social Enterprise

What is Social Enterprise?

Some of your favorite brands may actually fall into this category.  They are your favorite brands because not only do they have high quality products, but also a social mission. The official term is Social Enterprise: a market-driven approach to solve a social problem, creating a business model that gives back. There are a few different approaches: employing individuals who typically face barriers to market entry, creating products or services that lead to social or environment impact, or by donating a portion of their profits to a nonprofit.

Aid To Artisans Logo Social Enterprise Alliance Logo Artisan Alliance Logo

Our Efforts at Tribe West

Our approach at TribeWest (read more) is a combined effort of the first and last. Not only do we source designs from artisan partners, paying them a fair-wage percentage on the sale of their designs, but we also provide annual donations from our yearly profit. Tribe West’s adventurous spirit is captured in our brand’s craftsmanship aesthetic and inspired by our own global adventures and service excursions. We collaborate with the nonprofit organizations Social Enterprise Alliance,  Aid to Artisans, and Artisan Alliance to develop relationships with the ever growing artisan organizations around the world, partnering with them to create thoughtful, timeless designs characteristic of their culture.

The Growing Artisan Economy

And, we’re not the only ones! Businesses of all sizes are starting to catch on to the potential of using artisan products to fuel social enterprise.The artisan sector is the second-largest employer in the developing world after agriculture. It’s worth an estimated $32 billion a year, doubling in a period of 6 years in the early 2000’s as eCommerce gave us easier access to a global market (hear of Etsy?). Now many of the largest US businesses are on board; for example, Handmade at Amazon and Starbucks Reserve. Big business is bending to their customers cravings for quality and craft, and the market stats are too big to ignore.

Craft Is Cool

The artisan trend isn’t going away anytime soon - and it’s both domestic and international, as evidenced by the surge in craft breweries in the US over the past decade. The idea that “craft is cool” is driven by the growing drive for exclusivity. Unlike conventional goods, artisan products are created in small batches, unique and made with mastery, both features that are synonymous with luxury. Think beyond the tourist shop magnets to home goods, art, food and more, skillfully crafted from skills passed down through generations.

Why Does It Matter?

The huge boost in the craft style and artisan economy is an exciting indication that the global marketplace will one day become a more socially conscious space. According to the the 2016 Alliance Impact Report from the Alliance for Artisan Enterprise, “Artisan activities increase local incomes, preserve ancient cultures, and provide employment for hundreds of thousands of individuals around the world, particularly women.” Clearly the benefits of buying handmade products are felt on both sides. Consumers receive beautiful, lasting products while the artisan communities themselves benefits from fair trade practices.

We’re proud to be a small business that prioritizes social enterprise for both our artisan partners and our customers. We enjoying providing unique, high-quality products to you and your family while also assisting our partner families around the world.  Join us in supporting artisan designers by shopping our Arusha Shanga Plush, Arusha Shanga Cork and Cusco II designs.


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