Artisanship has many associations, with the most generic definition being ‘skill in a particular craft.’ We choose to define artisanship as ‘skill in a craft acquired through generational transfer’, meaning we work mostly with artisans who were taught their skill by their forefathers and grew up around this knowledge. Most of the time these have become small family businesses, and are embedded in a community whose identity, culture and geography revolve around a particular technique and its processes.
Each of our supply chain partners are chosen through a set of criteria emphasizing product integrity, community integration, and good business practice. We work with local field managers who have worked in the artisan sector for years and thus educate us with their invaluable experience in choosing the right partners. They help to sourcing, curation, and communication. At the end of the day, however, there’s nothing like a personal visit; as such, we visit each partner personally and focus on building long term relationships.
There are many international systems and certifications out there that help in choosing who to work with. These were very educational but not always practical for our artisan-factory model, especially given the differing levels of development in each area. For us, we believe that a business is at its heart the expression of its people’s values; as such, we developed our own criteria to guide our processes.