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From car seats to uniforms: Sara explores Rede Asta’s repurposed production model in Brazil

Earlier this month, Nest’s Director of Artisan Programming and Compliance, Sara Otto, headed to sunny Brazil to lead a pre-assessment compliance training for Nest Artisan Guild business, Rede Asta. Rede Asta works in partnership with a network of over thirty artisan businesses producing handcrafted products from waste and discarded products, transforming what others might see as an end into beautiful new beginnings. Products are often made from corporate waste materials and stitched or embroidered into new products that become corporate gifts for employees of the same corporations to contribute their waste. One of Asta’s partners is Volkswagon, who donates excess materials from its vehicle production in Brazil to Rede Asta‘s producer partners, facilitating transformations like that of seat fabric into new uniforms for Volkswagon employees.

During Sara’s visit, she spent her time in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo meeting with five of the artisan enterprises contributing to Rede Asta’s robust supply chain. As the proud recipient of a grant from C&A Foundation Brazil (Instituto C&A Brasil), Rede Asta further seeks to replicate its work with Nest for its entire network of producing partners over time.

Accompanied by Rede Asta’s strategy consultant, Sara visited five workshops in total, interviewing all business leaders to better understand current business operations and compliance challenges. Sara had the opportunity to speak with several of the artisan producers who expressed pride in having established a cooperative model by which they are sharing revenues and responsibilities with one another. Women are at the core of Rede Asta’s business model and social goals with 99% the entire workforce being female. One of the artisan groups was founded solely for the purpose of providing employment opportunities to Brazilian women who would otherwise be unable to secure full time jobs.

Now back in New York, Sara is using the information she collected during her time in Brazil to compile a customized report and action plan for improved business compliance over the next six to eight months. At this later time, Nest will visit Rede Asta once more to conduct a full compliance assessment. Nest extends a thank you to Rede Asta for its partnership in moving towards improved wellbeing for its community of exceptional handworkers.