Through our work with the Gee’s Bend quilters and Gullah basket weavers, as well as a number of Indigenous artisans and resettled Afghan refugees, Nest, in partnership with Etsy, is providing our country’s most talented artisans with the business support, digital access, and technical know-how needed to thrive as creative entrepreneurs.
Photo Credit: Stacy k. Allen Photography
Direct-to-consumer sales channels play an important role in supporting the sustainable growth of small maker and artisan businesses. Through Etsy’s leading marketplace platform, craft makers and artisans can reach a significant consumer base, gain new customers, and develop a sustainable source of revenue to grow their businesses.
Through the Uplift Makers Program, Nest and Etsy provide underresourced craft communities with access to Etsy’s online marketplace and onboarding support, as well as professional product photography and technical training on trends, pricing, shipping, and logistics.
The success of our work with the Gee’s Bend quilters in early 2021 demonstrated the Etsy platform’s ability to elevate underresourced craft communities and provide individual makers with meaningful income opportunities. Building on this success, Nest and Etsy have supported the launches of the Gullah basket weavers, a class of resettled Afghan refugees, and a number of Indigenous artisans on the platform.
Photo Credit: 1212 Designs
Gee’s Bend Quilters
The Gee’s Bend quilters have been producing patchworked masterpieces that constitute a crucial chapter in the history of American craft for generations. While the community has earned global acclaim for its unique craft tradition, it has not translated into economic advancement.
In February 2021, Nest and Etsy announced that 9 quilters launched independently-owned shops on the platform, marking the first time their quilts were widely available for customers to purchase online. This effort gained the attention of major news outlets including the Today Show and Good Morning America, and many of the quilters’ shops sold out overnight. Since then, more quilters have come online with support from Nest, Etsy, and their peers.
The Gullah basket weavers of the South Carolina Lowcountry are known for their incredibly intricate basket weaving tradition, a craft that they have preserved for more than eight generations. While their exquisite baskets–woven from locally-collected sweetgrass, pine needles, bulrush, and palmetto palm–have attracted the attention of art institutions across the country, their heritage craft tradition is largely unknown by many Americans.
Recognizing the need to bring this important craft tradition into the light, Nest partnered with Etsy to support 16 community members as they made their foray into direct-to-consumer sales through a dedicated feature of their independently-owned shops on Etsy.com in late 2021. Their launch on the platform was celebrated by outlets like CNN and Southern Living, among others, earning these talented weavers well-deserved praise, in addition to income.
In partnership with local organizations that support refugee resettlement in Buffalo, Dallas, and Seattle, Nest and Etsy announced the launch of the Afghan Refugee Collective which includes shops owned by Afghan women who have recently resettled as refugees in the United States. With guidance from Zolaykha Sherzad, an Afghan design consultant, these women created a stunning collection of home goods and textiles using traditional Afghan needlework techniques, which provide a tangible connection to their culture while they rebuild their lives in a new country.
Through the Indigenous Artisans Collective, Nest and Etsy are honored to support Indigenous makers by bringing greater attention and market opportunity to Indigenous craft traditions. In addition to creating opportunities for economic advancement for participating makers, the Collective was established to spark interest and curiosity in Indigenous craft among consumers. It is intended to be a celebration of the cultures and craftsmanship that have been borne out of the lands of the southwestern United States and Canadian territories and the communities who have inhabited them for generations.