Sunday, October 30, 2011

Not So Creepy Critters

A couple months ago I was contacted by Karine Grigoryan, president of Agate NGO in Gyumri.  Karine has cerebral palsy, but that isn't holding her back.  Her limitless optimism and energy shined through on her very first message to me on Facebook.  She wanted to work with Homeland Handicrafts, and nothing was going to stop her.  I knew that Karine and I would get along famously because when I asked her to SMS me rather than call me due to a hearing impairment I have, she said that it was no problem as her own impairment prevents her from speaking clearly in the phone.

What a perfectly functional match we are!

I asked Karine to send me photos of what they make already, a normal first step.  The photos came, and were as expected- products that I have seen many times before, definitely nothing that will be appreciated as new in the market, nothing that I thought I could have an success in marketing.  We needed to come up with something new. 

I do not believe in sympathy purchases - a 'poor them' purchase.  I want people to buy Homeland Handicraft's products because they are exciting, new, interesting, quality products, good products for the money.  That is where sustainability will come from for Karine and Agate NGO- not sympathy for their impairments, but appreciation for their products, their talent and their hard work.

I noticed a beaded tree among the photos.  A large tree, very intricate, certainly haven taken many many hours to make and therefore expensive- not sale-able.  But the beading technique was what caught my eye.  I suggested to Karine that we focus on that technique, but make new, different, eye-catching items.

Thus, this queen ant.

And spiders.

And scorpions.

It takes a special person to appreciate these not so creepy critters.  Are you one of them?

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