In partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies, Nest started working with the Gullah basket weavers in April 2021 through Hands to Heritage, an initiative of the Women’s Economic Development Portfolio at Bloomberg Philanthropies, to increase the national profile of the Gullah basket weavers of South Carolina. These weavers 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 museums, ranging from the Smithsonian to the Burke Museum in Seattle, their weaving tradition remains largely unknown to many Americans.
Building on Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Hands to Heritage Initiative, 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 and attention.