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Welcome to VillagesAnnArbor.org where it is our profound mission to bring to you the hard work of artists from all around the world in complete adherence to Fair Trade principles. We firmly believe that hand crafted work from the most disadvantaged places on earth can be brought to you with minimal effort while ensuring that the artist is fairly rewarded for their work.

Our business revolves around three distinct areas:

1) Sourcing Art

wood toy1With our close contacts to charities around the world we have been able to make contact with hundreds of artists making everything from sculptures to toys and jewelry. The problem is that in many disadvantaged parts of the world people cannot simply set up an ecommerce store or ebay account to offer their products to people in the Western World.

This is where we step in and organize everything from transportation, customs clearance and direct payment of the artist. We pay upfront for the products they create and offer those products to customers directly in store and online.

 

2) Educating Artists

wood toy2Because we know what our clients do and don’t like we are able to feed that type of information back to the artist. For example, Christine is a young artist from Kenya who makes the most wonderful toy animals carved from wood. Exotic animals are very popular, but so are our local ones.

By getting some pictures of North American animals like bears, coyotes and eagles, she was able to extend the range of products and she now works full time on her passion while being paid enough for her to be able to feed and educate her three children as well as get all the health care she needs.

 

3) Educating Our Customers

Through the direct contact with our customers in store we are able to engage with them on how they are helping disadvantaged people. For many people the attraction is that it is not really charity, but an economic exchange where the buyer gets a unique product and the artist gets a fair price.

While Fair Trade is quite common on food produce we are not aware of this having extended to other areas of an economy. This is probably one of the most attractive reasons seen by our customers. Many of our customers have even become volunteers in both our store and in reaching out to people all over the world.

This has helped us establish much better shipping, storage and packaging resources that we simply would not have been able to achieve without the help of others.

 

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I really hope you find the information on this site helpful and would invite you to get in contact with us. If you live in the Ann Arbor, MI area we would love for you to call into our store some time. Alternatively you can visit our Ebay store and directly make an impact on someone’s life by making a purchase. We would also appreciate if you could share our message through one of the social media links on our site.

This entry was posted on February 16, 2016, in Blogging.

Metal Work Art

In this article I want to introduce you a little more to José from Belize, whom we mentioned in our artist stories section a while ago. José is a mechanic by trade and owns his own small car and truck repair shop. Having followed his father and taken over his business he was able to create a reasonable living for him and his family.

JoséHowever, the local economy has been suffering for many years now and it became increasingly difficult for him to provide for his family.

His schooling and education background is remarkably good and above average for his country. He finished school and then went into a formal technical school for welding training. His dad had already taught him all there was to know about the mechanics of cars and trucks, but he still thought it was important to have a formal certification in welding.

It was through the technical school and his welding training tutor that he discovered more than just how to repair metal panels on cars. Something woke up an artistic streak inside him and he took advantage of all the scrap metal at the school to practice his new trade. At first it was just making small toys out of all the discarded pieces of metal that he would bring home to his little brothers.

But then he started making the most wonderful pieces of art that ranged in size from just under a foot to 12 foot tall metal sculptures. He’s back yard at home soon became filled with amazing art and some locals started showing some interest.

I happened to stumble across his work through a friend who had spent some time in Belize as an accountant. By pure chance he noticed some of the art and immediately put me in contact with José.

metal art joseSince then we have become quite close friends and I hope to go and visit him this year. The biggest problem for us now is that the large pieces of art that could make him a lot of money are very difficult to get shipped here to the US.

Between shipping costs and customs problems both in Belize and the US it has proven very difficult to make work. The smaller metal work has become very popular in our store and our ecommerce site, which is a great start for him.

What still surprises me is how a career in welding and metal work was meant to start out by repairing cars and trucks, but now he creates custom artwork for people here in the US. With your help and by sharing this story you can really make a difference to José and his family.

Also, if any of our readers are experts in international shipping and customs, I would appreciate some advice. Just use the contact form above or call into our store and we might be able to work something out that will help bring some of the larger metal work over here.

 

This entry was posted on February 16, 2016, in Blogging.

Many Aspiring Artists Are Already On Pinterest

Many Hopeful Musicians Seek Out Pinterest

The Basics

Pinterest is really the current social media web site that has actually surfaced in the face of the Web. If you are still not accustomed to exactly how this web site works, you may merely imagine doing a photo collage or a digital scrapbook. Yet this time around, you will be showing it to the whole world and also have it in social media form.

Considering that Pinterest allows you to pin in any kind of picture from your site and have it marketed all over the globe, this means that all striving artists must be on Pinterest, as this would be a great means to market their talents.

It’s For All Types Of Artists

Artists like painters, sketch artists, crafters and also sculptors, especially from disadvantaged parts of the world, should take this chance to have their works of art shown across the globe. Pinterest will certainly be a good way to have these fine arts offered like hot potatoes specifically on a social networking website that has more than 25 million users today.

An aspiring artist from the developing world can also use Pinterest to keep up-to-date on their field of interest. For all artists that have actually just begun on their craft, they may utilize all the available pins that match their interest.

Primarily, Pinterest holds pins that have tutorial lessons for various topics or updates. Artists could also utilize hashtags and connect it back to their web site for a complete view of what they need to provide, plus boosting their website’s traffic. This is in fact very good in terms of advertising a company as well as skills.

Networking

Through Pinterest, striving artists can meet upcoming people in their field and the pins that would assist in boosting their talents, and also in return, people who are interested with their abilities and also their crafts. This would really be an advantage for the social side of being a Pinterest individual.

After that comes the structure of a network! This is most likely one of the most interesting areas that any Pinterester gets involved in! Artists and also followers have the ability to comment on each other’s work and also do some form of arrangement for their passion as well as talk about their passions. People could likewise repin your images that you pinned containing your fine art or other items as well as services you can supply.

Reach Potential Customers

By re-pinning you will certainly have the ability to chat directly on other people’s work. You could have your reference set so Pinterest would be sending you email or notifications every single time someone repins your pins. Under the pin, customers might be able to leave some remarks. You should always show appreciation to those people that repin your pins, they will certainly be a large help for even more individuals to see your pins.

With Pinterest, determination is in fact an excellent attribute to have. Similar to other social network sites, creating connections with your co-Pinterest individuals is important. When you are still new to the website, as well as you still do not have all the understanding on ways to optimize everything, then you should recognize that it is normal if you still will not have sales or fans from the first day.

Create A Plan

Learn to strive on the best ways to make your Interesting a great tool. The most effective component in Pinterest is that you will certainly have individuals to direct you. Search for pins on a category of your passion or art, study exactly how they appear to make their pins achieve a large number of followers.

Without a doubt, Pinterest is the appropriate place for aspiring artists, but you should make certain that you have a quite enticing pin. Aim to pin stuff that you know a great deal of individuals will be interested in. If you do this right, you will undoubtedly have your pins go viral, and by that, it indicates your pins will be re-pinned by other Pinterest customers.

If you’re an ambitious artist, then you have to grab this excellent chance! It’s verified that for lots of self-starters and striving artists like you, Pinterest assisted them to market their abilities as well as sell their goods in the most convenient as well as the coolest method they can!

Here at villagesannarbor.org we help artists in the developing world with this task and where there is no reliable Internet connection available we even do it from our own office using our volunteers.