As you know by now, I am deeply passionate about process. When the way a product is made honours the people making it and - even better - contributes significantly to improving their way of life and the lives of those in their community, I get very, very excited. That is the kind of leverage I would love to see happening all the more in our growing global design economy. Gratefully, today's Design Find is a company with just such a vision.
Finding beauty in places afflicted by war, oppression and poverty, Far and Wide Collective (FWC) launched yesterday, bringing exquisite traditions and culturally-inspired design to Western buyers. Through its carefully curated website, FWC partners with talented artisans from post-conflict and emerging economies to unearth hidden gems – sharing home décor, fashion and jewelry with an international audience.
“FWC is proud to help build bridges to create a more cohesive global community and a viable economic future for our artisan partners,” says founder Hedvig Alexander. “Over fifteen years working in development in conflict zones, including seven in Afghanistan, I have seen firsthand the most effective growth opportunity for women and marginalized groups is through sustainable businesses with access to international markets.”
According to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), handmade crafts are the second largest sector of rural employment in much of the developing world. With such rich cultural traditions and craft skills in almost every household, developing countries account for 60 percent of the world’s total exported creative goods, according to USAID. By providing access to international markets, marketing support, business guidance and training, FWC aims to support the growth of this sector as a key driver of economic development, especially for women.
“With an influx of big box retail chains and growing questions about the true nature (and safety) of production in the developing world, we are seeing a backlash against mass produced goods,” Alexander observes. “Consumers want unique items made responsibly by individual artisans: our mission is to bring them these products.”
About Far and Wide Collective
Far and Wide Collective (FWC) is a sustainable digital marketplace created to connect low-income craftspeople with consumers through art, design and humanitarianism. FWC partners with some of the most talented artisans in emerging economies, building bridges to open the way to a better future for its artisan partners.
I hope you get as excited about this as I do! I am grateful for visionaries like Hedvig Alexander who are developing beautiful products through a beautiful, meaningful process that truly makes a difference. In a world desperately in need of positive change, this kind of compassionate, dignifying and elevating business is the kind I want to have on my radar!