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Just back from India, Justine Potashnik recounts her fellowship with Nest Artisan Accelerator participant, Studio Coppre

As told by Justine Potashnik, Business Development Consultant for the Interior Design and Fashion Industries

India is one of my favorite places on earth. I have a particularly strong reverence for its people and culture, so when I am there, I feel at home. Rooted in culture and a shared passion to merge design with social enterprise, Sudakshina, Rashmi and Chhanda (the Studio Coppre team) and I experienced immediate kinship, such that it seemed we had known one another for eons. While product dominated our conversations sixteen hours per day, food also had a funny way of working its way into our dialogue.

What were we setting out together to address? Many of the common challenges faced by a business, small or large during pivotal stages of growth: scalability, product development, pricing, marketing, market entry – market saturation. As a contemporary brand with traditional roots, Studio Coppre is asking itself how to transport to the consumer a better understanding of the level of skill used to create its stunning assortment of copper and bronze objects.

Studio Coppre metal artisans at work

Studio Coppre’s metal artisans at work

And in fact, we questioned everything: How to create a lasting roadmap (while leaving allowances for evolution) to growth and how to stay nimble. How to grow fiscally. How to demonstrate impact not only on business, but on the lives of individual artisans, and their families.

Even before my trip began, the Studio Coppre team and I began charting our plan – a holistic one. From pricing to product to market entry, every facet of business influences one another, so our strategy acknowledged this. With Studio Coppre officially entering the US market in August when the business will present at the NYNow show, we had a tangible moment to work towards while always keeping product itself paramount.

What did we do? We re-merchandised, tightened up the assortment to better target particular customers, and worked through costing exercises. We discussed retail placement strategies and how to use a marketing and branding toolkit to ‘package’ Studio Coppre in a more compelling way. We leaned into Studio Coppre’s existing strengths, such as its robust design capabilities and expert-knowledge in working with metals that are less understood (and some even unrecognized) in the US market. We grounded our big dreams in practical pricing that would allow for financially feasible collections that stand to unlock business opportunities.

My assessment was this: Studio Coppre is ideally poised to develop a US presence and to work with companies of a wide variety of sizes – either through wholesale channels or in direct collaboration with these brands.

Is it possible, you may ask, to create tangible change to a business within a matter of weeks? Let me tell you that we all saw enough immediate improvement to sufficiently blow us away. After re-merchandising and photographing the new collections, an instant evolution for the Studio Coppre brand presented itself to us. In my excitement, I shared the photos with handfuls of trusted business associates and friends representing a diversity of design sensibilities and expertise. Feedback was chiefly exceedingly positive and seemed to prove Studio Coppre’s universal appeal across a wide range of clientele.

The newly merchandised Studio Coppre collection

The newly merchandised Studio Coppre collection

Now home in New York, I am thinking about my experience constantly. The Studio Coppre team and I are fueled with excitement about the possibilities ahead, building off of the foundation we created together during our time in India. While language and culture can often feel like barriers to communication, Sudakshina, Rashmi and Chhanda, and I were brought together by an openness to learn, to laugh, and to be ourselves. This, combined with the unmatched humor of the entire Studio Coppre team of artisans, led us to achieve greatness, together.

Interested in leveraging your professional expertise becoming a Nest Fellow? Visit our Fellowships page to learn more!