OUR STORY

Who We Are

The Artisan Collective is dedicated to changing lives and building relationships. We are unique in the mutual partnerships that we have between students, educators, and our global partners. The women artisans that we work with create beautiful, hand-made jewelry that we sell at local art sales, though local wholesale partners, and on our Shop Page. As a not-for-profit student organization, we are committed to maintaining fair trade practices with our global partners. 

How Our Partnerships Began

Faculty, staff, and students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have spent many years building relationships with artisans at several global health field course sites including those of our current artisan partners. 

While working with these artisans, they shared their concerns about the opportunity gap they face. Their artistic skills are high – they can create upscale, beautiful products often using traditional techniques passed down for generations but they needed help accessing a broader market. With our collaboration, they have learned to create new products that align with current trends, hone their business skills, and in turn gain economic viability.

We have collaborated with many different artisan groups over the years. Currently, we are partnering with women artisans from three underdeveloped communities in Ecuador, Mexico, and Nepal. 

A UW-Madison Student Organization

The Artisan Collective organizes and maintains the operations, marketing, finance, and sales of the products. We focus on developing sustainable business plans to expand product sales through wholesale partners, local art sales, and recently due to COVID-19, the sales platform on this website. Our inventory is purchased directly from our artisan partners, allowing them to generate much needed income for education, healthcare, and food. All revenue that we generate is used to operate our business, develop new products, and expand to new sites.

Our student organization was formerly known as Wisconsin Without Borders Marketplace before we underwent rebranding efforts to keep our organization up to date with current business trends. COVID-19 changed the business landscape, impacting our in-person sales and wholesale partnerships, and severely affecting the communities of our artisans. 

Keeping our artisan partners at the core of our decisions, we underwent a major rebrand. Our student members came together to create a new name, logo, and brand image, and to develop a new website and product line. Our hopes are to use these new assets to expand our reach, spread our mission, and increase our contributions to our artisan partners.

What You Can Do

The most important factor in the success of this organization is you. Your purchase gives these artisans opportunities to learn, teach, create new products, gain independence, and generate an income to invest in their families and communities.

We encourage you to join the movement! You can make an impact by purchasing these high quality, beautiful, hand-made accessories, donating to these talented women artisans, or by simply helping us spread our mission in any way you can.

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to stay connected!