This past weekend, we got to visit the Handmade Global Design section at the NY NOW trade show and it was terrific to catch up with some old friends (including Aid to Artisans , Darzah, Child’s Cup Full and Stitchwallah) and make new friends too! With the UNDP’s Sustainable Development Goals fresh on everyone’s mind, it was great to see NY NOW pay attention to the subject through seminars on sustainable fashion and home design as well as listing exhibitors who promote sustainable practices. Though the focus is often on environmental sustainability, visiting the Handmade Global Design section, we were reminded of the different ways in which the gift and craft industry strives to incorporate sustainable practices into their organizations.
Sustainability efforts tackle issues of inequality and many of our friends in this sector aim to address these issues by providing employment to disenfranchised groups – those marginalized by their socio-economic status and/or gender.
It was encouraging to see the depth and breadth of organizations whose focus is addressing inequality by providing employment and developing the workforce. They are involved in not only supporting and strengthening the producers they employ, but also strive to make themselves sustainable as organizations and sustain, what in essence is a biz operation. Not enough support and acknowledgement is given to the realities many organizations in the sector face as they grapple with two, distinct missions.
In the months ahead we look forward to showcasing organizations in the sector who have successfully balanced both sides of the equation as well as those who continue to grapple with the challenges of serving two distinct missions.
We look forward to broadening the conversation around sustainability and impact in the sector and look forward to engaging with you – stay tuned!