We are often asked, how does it work? With groups of volunteers across countries and time-zones, Natik somehow manages to help a group of indigenous female artisans (called Just Apparel) sell custom textile products internationally. Logistically, creatively, personally — how does this work?
Below is the text of the email thread that began a collaboration with Emmy Callero in Portland, OR, and it should give you an idea of how things are done. We are excited for this project; it will give our artisans access to bigger markets as well as help them develop new skills.
Stay tuned for progress in next few months!
This letter is to welcome Emmy Callero into the fair trade artisan process.
Emmy was a distance volunteer for Natik a while back and recently contacted me. She wants to connect her new interior design/product design business with the artisans of Just Apparel. After our conversation (a few moments ago) it is clear she shares the “collaborative” middle name of all the rest of the Natik family, so I am pleased to introduce her.
Living in Portland, she will have direct access to a distinctive new market, which along with Los Angeles, Denver, Chicago, and New York, will give us a better chance of competing with all the other artisan products out there.
Small Business Owner, Former Volunteer
Hello Sarah, Brittany, Roisin and Jenn~
I am excited and pleased to meet your virtual acquaintance! It looks like you have some great things in the works.
As Anita mentioned, I am in the process of pulling together a interior design/decorating business. My long-term vision is to become a social business by connecting my clients in the USA with fair trade home decor products in Latin America. To increase impact, I will start small, with the 1 village model, instead of a 10,000 village model.
I have informally begun to do a feasibility analysis and a little market research, but before I get too far, I wanted to touch base with you all to see if my business could complement your work.
Volunteer and Former Natik Fellow
Welcome to the team Emmy! I think I speak for all of us when I say that we are SO excited to have you on board!
I am still helping with the the delivery of our Guatemalan products, and this project sounds really interesting- I love the “one village” concept as opposed to the “10,000” villages. Keep me posted; I’m always available to brainstorm.
All the best!
New Natik Fellow
It is so nice to be introduced to all of you and begin to get up to speed on all of the work you’ve been doing with Just Apparel!
I am the next Natik fellow, and will be bridging the gap between the Just Apparel artisans [in Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala] and our international contacts, like Emmy. I am eager to begin work on the ground this summer, but in the meantime, I’d love to be involved however I can. Reading the notes from your last meeting has revealed a lot already!
Board Member and Former Natik Fellow
New York, NY
It’s great to hear from you, Emmy and Jenn. The opportunity to collaborate with such creative and passionate people is one of my favorite parts of working with Natik.
I was a Natik fellow in Chiapas from August 2012-May 2013. During those months, I did a variety of odd jobs, including setting up the Etsy shop and getting our e-commerce efforts off the ground in Chiapas. When I left, I committed to preserve the Chiapas side of the e-commerce endeavor.
I am already in contact with a designer in NYC who may be interested in working with us.
Board Executive, Secretary
Los Angelos, CA
It seems like a meeting is in order!
I’m Sarah Mawhorter and I’ve been working with Natik and JA for a while now. For this project, I will be marketing our custom products here in the States and work closely with Jenn when she arrives in Santiago to coordinate orders.
For the meeting, we can use a Doodle poll so we can figure out a time that works for us. We’re all in different time zones, so check the time zone displayed when you log in to Doodle.
Hopefully, we can find some overlap…
If you are interested in working with Just Apparel, please contact us!