There's more than meets the eye when it comes to FEED artisan collections. With the use of colorful textiles and incricate beadwork, it is hard to deny the beauty of each collection. But what we love most about these collections is their impact. Through a commitment to continued production, we are providing jobs to artisans who often have no other sources of income to provide for their families. We work with the artisans themselves in sourcing materials for production to ensure each product reflects and celebrates the rich heritage of craftsmanship in that region. Just as impactful, each artisan product when sold provides meals to children in the country in which it was produced, closing the loop of investment in that area.
Employing artisans in a country and in turn, giving meals within the same region is what we call our 360 Giving Program. This concept took root in 2009 with the first FEED Kenya Collection. The design incorporates local Masai fabric and highlights intricate hand beading by Kenyan artisans. When purchased, each bag provides 2 children with school meals for 1 year in Kenya. Our relationship with the artisans in Kenya has continued to grow over the years as has our product offering, which now includes Kikoy scarves and pouches, which each provide 10 school meals.
After experiencing the ripple effects of goodness that stemmed from work with artisans, we soon found ourselves in Guatemala learning the intricacies of hand looming. The FEED Guatemala Collection includes a tote bag, pouch and wristlet in a variety of bold patterns. Each one provides micronutrients to children in Guatemala. These micronutrients are sprinkled on top of food and ensure key nutrients needed for growth and good health.
“We have fed our families and paid for our children to stay in school. That is more than I thought I could ask.” These are the touching words spoken by a Guatemalan woman who is employed by our Guatemala artisan collective partner, Piece & Co.. FEED worked with this organization when collaborating with fashion designer, Rachel Roy, to create a two-piece bag collection handcrafted in India. The FEED + Rachel Roy collection featured traditional block printing techniques, that in total helped 45 artisans and their families. When purchased, these bags also provided school meals to India.
In 2014, we launched FEED Heritage Collection – a limited edition luxury line of neutral toned leather bags in a variety of styles. MADE is a fair trade fashion accessories brand that creates jobs in Kenya, teaches new skills to its employees, and promotes trade in Africa. Our team visited this artisan group during a site visit in 2013, and saw the making of the bags first-hand during this time. We immediately knew we wanted to work with them to produce this limited edition luxury collection.
This year's artisan favorites have included a limited-edition hand embroidered FEED 1 Bag from Peru, colorful accessories from the Lula Mena women’s collective in El Salvador, and most recently, the Frida Bag and Pouch, which features fabric hand loomed by a family collective in Oaxaca, Mexico. See our newest artisan arrivals here.
An female artisan from the MADE collective handstitching a pouch for FEED Heritage Collection, a limited edition luxury leather line. Each bag in the collection provided meals to children in Kenya when sold.
Each FEED 2 Kenya Bag takes a skilled artisan two days to handbead and is lined with traditional Masai fabric, making each one special and unique.
Our artisan collections not only provide employment to underserved communities, but also celebrate the rich heritage of craftsmanship in each of the regions where we work with artisan collectives.