A two-day selling exhibition showcasing market-driven products created by home-based women artisans concluded today, providing valuable feedback from retail store buyers, design trade, and consumers to 17 females sales agents representing approximately 800 home-bound artisans.
The exhibition was organized by Yahya Parveze Rana of YAHYA PR & Events, sponsored by Kaarvan Crafts Foundation with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
The sales agents provide business support services to a network of women artisans from villages across Punjab unable to access markets on their own. A USAID program trained the sales agents on how to manage the creative process, apply design trends, work with designers, source raw materials, collaborate with tailors, and cost and price their finished products.
“In preparing for this exhibition we have learned so much about new designs that modern customers like,” said Ms .Abida Ashraf. a female sale agent representing women embellishers from the village of Dera Masti in Bahawalpur. “We hope to generate many orders from this event, and look forward to applying all the things we learned from this exhibition to the next one in the fall.”
Hundreds of thousands of home-bound women across Pakistan produce artisan handmade products that often provide their only source of income. Despite the potential for women to earn a good living and contribute to the national economy through artisan handmade products, most remain trapped in a cycle of poverty resulting from their lack of mobility and access to market information.
The exhibition is part of the USAID Entrepreneurs project, a five-year, $30 million initiative implemented by Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), which assists Pakistani organizations like Kaarvan to support marginalized micro-entrepreneurs from production to sales.
Today’s exhibition represents the first in a series of exhibitions to improve the marketing and product development abilities of sales agents and the micro-entrepreneurs they represent.
Before the advent of sales agents, rural women artisans lacked access to their customers and market trends. This series of exhibitions provide sales agents with direct access to the customers, enabling them to use customer feedback to refine their products to better meet the market demand. This will translate into more money going directly to the artisans and their families.
Design innovations meet market demands for 800 female artisans.