NY NOW Podcast

The Artisan Business Lab

June 02, 2021 NY NOW Season 1 Episode 41
NY NOW Podcast
The Artisan Business Lab
Show Notes Transcript

Artisan Business Lab: Artisan Business Lab is a global initiative that provides artisans with the resources they need to launch a global brand. Artisan Business Lab now offers a more direct way to accelerate the growth by providing artisan businesses with self-paced courses, one-on-one sessions with experts, webinars, networking events, and a semi-annual live training event known as the “e-Market Readiness Program."       

RESOURCES   
|
The Artisan Business Lab   
https://artisanbusinesslab.teachable.com/           

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https://nynow.com/podcast   

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https://nynowdigitalmarket.com   

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https://nynow.com

Dondrill Glover:

Welcome to the new york now podcast, a modern wholesale market for retailers and specialty buyers seeking diversity and discovery, gathering twice a year in America's design capital, New York City. It's where buyers and designers on earth have refreshed and dedicated collection of eclectic lifestyle products. Hi, I'm Dondrill Glover, creative marketing consultant for New York now and I'm excited to welcome today's special guest. Lauren Barkume, program director for a to artisans for a conversation with one of New York now's longest standing exhibiting partners Aid To Artisans is a project of creative learning, a nonprofit organization based out of Washington DC, a to artists whose mission is to create economic opportunities for low income artists and groups around the world where livelihoods, community and craft traditions are marginal are at risk. With methodologies and product development, business training and market access ataa and its partners have been its core mission for over 40 years. ataa continues to evolve and move progressively forward. ataa is a place where handmade is modern, requiring new and emerging technologies and learning for continued sustainability, relevance, growth and preservation. Today, a TA is looking forward to the second year of its highly successful online market readiness program, the E M RP and launching its newest and latest artists and business initiative. Join me in welcoming Lauren. Hi, Lauren, welcome. It's wonderful to see you again.

Lauren Barkume:

HI Dondrill, it's great to see you too.

Dondrill Glover:

Oh yes. It's always wonderful to reconnect with a TA. You guys have been a part of a New York now family for over 27 years. And that's pretty amazing, no doubt, a very strong and vital partnership. We're really always happy to have you here and to speak with you.

Lauren Barkume:

Yeah, New York Now, has been such an important partner for eight artisans all these years, and the markets been a really vital part of how we've been able to connect artisans and new markets and to grow their sales.

Dondrill Glover:

You know, previously, the market readiness program has been hosted at New York now live for so many years. flashback pandemic 2020, presented all of us, you know, with incredible challenges, as the effect we know, on both the artists in the sector and for retailers has been tremendous.

Lauren Barkume:

Absolutely. I mean, I think last year was a challenge for all of us. But also just so much inspiring. Stories are coming out of this of this last year and new and emerging opportunities with market trends. We're just really excited about the increase in online market access, especially for artists and communities abroad.

Dondrill Glover:

Absolutely. I mean, I really I couldn't agree more to see this research of retail coming back, there was just a study out and we posted the article 44% of New Yorkers supported local business, they shopped online, they're they're looking to shop and support retailers. And of course, global handmade and handmade in general, is such a huge part of that connection and come back. So I'm really excited for the audience to learn about the new evolution of the market readiness program with the EMR p online, but before we jump to what's current and new, and we're excited to talk about it, you know, last year was a huge pivot for ATA. I mean, let's talk about it was a game changer and moving ATA programming forward. And you were leaving that in spearheading that? Can we talk a bit about that?

Lauren Barkume:

Yeah, that'd be great. It was a big pivot. And, you know, really, really a challenge when we first realized we weren't going to be able to do our market readiness program in person last year. So we just saw the opportunity that, that this offered, you knows moving the program to online really helped us to connect with more people who aren't able to travel to the US or have you know, financial challenges with, you know, all this comes to with coming to an actual physical market. So, the internet really provides limitless opportunities to grow a global brand. And, you know, we just believe everyone should have access to this information to expand their market. Oh, absolutely, totally agree, you know, more in, you know, as a program director and building something new and evolving an existing really strong program like the market readiness program. How did this challenge you? And were there concerns about artisans in rural villages being able to access this new technology and learning? Yeah, definitely. I mean, it was a big challenge last year to reimagine the whole market rate in this program online. You know, it's always been centered at the New York now show and you know, in the market, and those connections with the market are really, you know, we're really critical part of of the process. So it was really a team effort with our amazing ATM mentors to sort of create a robust training that still offers the same amazing content of, of, you know, sort of everything an artist and sector business needs to know to be successful in the global market. So, you know, we wanted to find ways to incorporate, you know, the amazing personal coaching and the community community building that the MRP is known for. So we were able to do that, which was really wonderful. You know, we were really concerned also about how to make the program as accessible as possible, especially in areas with limited internet technology. You know, not everyone around the world has the same ease of connection that we do here in the US. Exactly. Yeah. So one of one of the ways that we navigated that challenges, you know, we ran to a market readiness programs last year, one in August, and then one in November, and our second one was in all in Spanish. Yeah, we are at a Mexico team on the ground. And for that program in Spanish, we really did have to create a hybrid version. So we did, we had a lot of rural Mayan artisans, who just didn't have the connectivity to be able to, to join an online program like we would, you know, joining us zoom, we're also used to in 2020. So we had that that November program was a hybrid. And we brought together small groups of rural Mayan Arbus, leaders to connect online together in the 18. Mexico office. So that that hybridized version of that has allowed us to sort of, you know, have greater access and and allow, you know, people who wouldn't necessarily be able to have that connectivity to join the program.

Dondrill Glover:

Yeah, I can definitely see that it's really interesting when we talk about technology and having access. And it's interesting with artists, since everyone has a cell phone, and using it excited taking pictures and texting and being on WhatsApp. And now we have this whole technology with with learning, I have to commend you, having been a part of last year, his program, the way it was handled, and really bringing artisans to the table, and particularly artisans who would normally be more apprehensive with technology and kind of trusting what it's going to bring in them being able to really understand it and learn from it. So all of those pivots and changing really targeting areas that would normally be weak, where the training could fill in, you guys did an amazing job. And I can't say enough about it. I want to talk a bit about, you know, we think about COVID. And we think about 2020. And just, you know, kind of like the devastation with artists and community and of course, with retailers and so forth. But in in that along with the pivots and the changes and kind of evolving the way we think and really on the mission and the need to make sure that we're connecting in serving our community. Can you tell us a bit about the communities in the countries in the global artisans sector that you were able to galvanize, for this first time online learning, training that this was a big deal?

Lauren Barkume:

Yeah, we were we were really excited to have 120 alumni come through our training programs last year. Amazing. You know, usually we only have space for about 20 to 30 in person. And so to have 120 people come through our two programs was just amazing. It was able to really increase our reach. So we have, you know, we had alumni from all over the world. We had brands that were based in Brooklyn, in Brazil, you know, doing sales in the US and production in Brazil, Chicago in Colombia. We had people from Canada, Kenya, Uganda, San Francisco for Rocco. To make Lucy to Guyana, we had we had people from all over South America, India, Nicaragua. It was an amazing community.

Dondrill Glover:

Yeah, I think yeah, that, you know, I really wanted to make sure that we address that and brought that up, because I think during that time, you think about what happens but then all of a sudden, here's this rise. This is where this self empowerment comes in. So and I think it's important for the community and listeners to know that even during really difficult and challenging times ataa like many of us and other businesses and communities, we're figuring out how can we connect, how can we still impact and reach out and so you know, to hear all of those countries and even local communities that were able to be involved is tremendously inspiring to know that even during times That we can, that we can rise in that way. I want to talk about, of course, the new em RP training and what does that mean for the future of the market readiness program that you have in person? At live show in New York now?

Lauren Barkume:

Yeah, that's a great question. You know, and one that we, we've been thinking about this last year, just with the results that we've had with with with being able to impact, you know, 120 alumni in this last year, that's a clear sign to us that, you know, we are able to offer this online program, you know, the same great content, where people are able to learn all the things that they need to know to run a successful artists business, in an online setting, and they can still connect, and they can still get that amazing mentorship and small group coaching, that, you know, makes them market readiness programs. So great. So, you know, we really see this online platform as the future. So we don't anticipate actually coming back to in person training at the market, unless we have something super specific as part of a program. You know, this. Yeah, it's, it's something that we see as more accessible, we're able to offer it for a much lower cost than we ever were in person. And or to travel. Yeah, it's just so great on so many different levels. Well, it really, it

Dondrill Glover:

feels like, you know, it allows you, you know, in terms of I want to talk about, we've been waiting to talk about the new evolution, what is the new MRP? And and how does that and who does it benefit Lauren?

Lauren Barkume:

Yeah, so our new MRP is, is the MRP. So we have needed an online program is designed to help you understand this changing industry, and connect you with fellow people in the artisan sector, and then really assist you in establishing a market presence. So we, you know, we totally understand what it's like to be overwhelmed trying to take your product to a global market. And, you know, our whole mission is to really help artists and communities, overcome those obstacles, get unstuck, and then succeed in the larger market. So the MRP is, our next program is happening June 22, to 25th. So it's coming up. And we are, yeah, we're so we're planning our next program for June, and hoping to have lots of people from all over the globe. Join us again, you know, the people who really benefit from this is anyone who's in the artisan sector, or maybe considering joining the artisan sector and wants to understand more. So we have, you know, USBs brands, who have artists in production and want to really dig into what that's like more, or connect with other artists and producers. We have, you know, artists and production brands, exporters and importers. We also love to have NGOs, who are working with artisans, as well as sort of international development professionals. And then you know, sometimes this individuals or students or designers also, you know, want to know how how the artisan sector works and, and where they might be able to fit in. So this is a great program, just to sort of see the bigger picture and understand what that market looks like, and how they might connect with the whole artisan sector.

Dondrill Glover:

It's wonderful to see kind of when you target that demographic, it's really opened up. I think, initially, when people hear about trainings, they're thinking, well, it's just for the artisans. But those partnerships with artists and sectors are so vital. And there are so many people within that kind of diaspora that really want to be involved. And it's such an opportunity for them to experience a training to connect with other people in the industry, and really get those answers that they need to make the vital connections, and really kind of jumpstart the work that they want to do. So it is inspiring to see that demographic be as broad, but still so relevant to the industry and what we're doing here. In learning and adapting lessons from last year and the previous program. Let's talk about launching this new artists and business lab. It's a new initiative radiate, and what does it mean for a TA?

Lauren Barkume:

Yeah, we are really excited about this. This has been brewing since our first MRP. Last year, we had all these great ideas come from our alumni about what they wanted. And you know, what we heard over and over again, is just, we want more ways to connect. We want more ways to learn. We want to dig deeper. We really want to maintain this community and continue for Learning, you know, past past the topics of the MRP. So the artisan business lab now offers a more direct way to accelerate growth by providing artists and businesses with self paced online courses, one on one sessions with experts, webinars, networking events, and we're also it's also the platform that hosts our new market readiness program. So this, this new platform is really, we want to be the global leader in artists and training online. So we are held, we are planning a series of courses that are from, you know, very sophisticated, advanced level such as like branding and marketing, to, you know, trainings that are for artisans who are just starting out. So we're planning on having a whole host of courses that can be done in your own time, you know, at home, and, and really allow you to, to dig into those topics, you know, and not need to be in a live event. So this is our new platform that we are going to be hosting all this great content on and facilitating this community to stay connected. Because we it is a community and we're really hoping to stay keep us all connected, and then allow people to continue to learn, you know, not just sort of come through our program once and sort of send them on their way. You know, we've gotten so much so many amazing mentors, and eta trainers that we've connected with over the years that, you know, we have this incredible wealth of knowledge, and this platform is for those, you know, those who want to learn and connect to the greater community.

Dondrill Glover:

Yeah, I mean, you know, just the ideal of having a place where there is continuous learning with artists and businesses it is it is in any businesses, but there are particular things about building an artisan handmade brand, that there is a process of constantly learning to scale, you know, how to pivot, how to change how to embrace, how to build your brand. I mean, I've talked with lots of brands that are beautiful product, you're like, you know, Doctor lens, still evolving my story, I'm still trying to tell what my brand means. So having a source where you can connect, you can ask a question, you can review class content, would be a really impactful tool for the artists and community. And it kind of leads me into my next statement, because, you know, we know that artisans thrive and vital mentorship connections in those relationships are so crucial to the development of the brand and the skill set. And the mindset, the entire partnership really is a companion partner in building because these are these are areas where the expertise that ataa has built in the connections through the years, they're always starting off the platform with sharing their information, as you mentioned, I'd love to talk about this year's mentors and training partners.

Lauren Barkume:

Yeah, we have, you know, as you know, an amazing team. And for the for the MRP this year. You know, Daniel yourself is included in one of our as one of our mentors, which we have so appreciated in person and now online. Always a pleasure. Yeah. And we've also got, you know, the amazing Patti carpenter, who's going to be sharing all about color and design trends for this year and for 2022. We've got Mimi Robinson, who is an amazing product developer and designer. Who is Yeah, she's she's so inspiring to just, and just seeing all the way that she's developed new products that have adapted in this COVID time has just been amazing. So she has so many great stories of, of how to pivot with your artists and business when you have something like a pandemic. We've also got Susan Easton, who is this? Yes, she's amazing. And Stacy Edgar, we've got Laurie canes, and any Waterman. So we've got a whole host of of wonderful mentors, as part of our program. And, you know, not just part of the MRP, but also who are running our first classes on the business lab.

Dondrill Glover:

I've had the great pleasure of working or connecting with all of these women and mentors, whether it be with a TA or outside on other projects. And I have to, you know, once again, they're at the top of their game. They're highly experienced. They're really really passionate about artists and businesses enterprise connecting, educating and really love lining up a path for brands to grow. And so you know, the presentations last year, they were so impactful. And once we would break away into the chat rooms, the participants were filled with questions, the information is so vital, and it's presented in a way that it's digestible, they can take it step by step and really align it to how they need to pivot or grow, expand their, their businesses. And so my expectation for this year is, I have no doubt that we are going to even surpass what we're able to accomplish last year, and you have such a great team with you. So I'm excited for the participants. And I'm excited for the audience, to learn how a TA is moving forward and just how progressive this platform really is. I want to talk about the layout of the program. You know, what, what will the new classes cover?

Lauren Barkume:

Yeah, so let me tell you about the artisan business lab, because this is this is what is going to be happening, we're launching our first first classes after the mark Rene's program ends. So June 26, will be sort of announcing our first classes. And those classes are planned to start on July 5, we have three classes that we're starting with. The first one is artists and branding. And this is something that is going to be taught by Annie Waterman, who has an amazing artists and brand herself, which is well known well known in the sector. And she's going to be really teaching you know how to take take all of the the stories and the visuals and the branding and turn it into something cohesive, that can give you a brand new book. So by the end of the class, you'll have a brand new book that will become your guide that you can use to help make decisions. And, and to really give you the look and the feel, and the direction in your visual sort of identity as a brand. So that artists and branding course we're really excited about because this is a this is a new course that eta has never taught before. And the classes are all going to be self paced, they will be hosted on the artists and business lakhpat platform. And they'll have sort of a series of activities and workbooks that really are designed to give you something tangible that can you can hold after the program. So you really have done the work to get your brand. And the first three courses are going to we're going to have sort of a three course collective that comes together as a community. And we'll be doing live q&a every week, where as people are sort of going through their homework and getting the work done in the classes, they'll be able to ask questions from the teacher and really get that feedback from their fellow classmates, as well as you know, our amazing mentor team. So that's the structure of how the classes will be. So the first class is the artists and branding. And that will be held over two weeks. And then we're going to be doing product development and design. And

Dondrill Glover:

yeah, it's such a big real such a big topic and topic, you've got the great right person covering it, though you really, really do. And I think that, you know, you you mentioned having a takeaway. But with that I've been building, I mean that within itself as we once again, we go back to the story in building the brand, and even expanding product and what makes sense to grow and develop and once again, be able to connect the narrative, I think that one of the things for me, and when you buy into global handmade, you are not just buying a product, you are buying a story, you're buying a tradition, you're supporting a craft, you're helping with the preservation of that. And I think, you know, it's been said many times that, that that narrative, in its full self and it's full itself, particularly for the western market is really, really important. We have a very conscious consumer. And and I'm grateful that we do because people care about the social impact. They care about supporting the right entities, they care about equity they care about so many of those things that that our artists and communities need to keep thriving, but also to create beautiful product that we get to sort of have this history in our home and in our stores. So having that component, I can imagine that many artisans will be really, really excited about that.

Lauren Barkume:

Yeah, absolutely. And I think you hit it on the head. I think a lot of artists and businesses especially don't Realize that the value that, you know, artists and is the trend right now. And handmade is is like, hot? And so

Dondrill Glover:

and, and the best way because, you know, it's it's an investment in culture and history and it's it's pretty extraordinary in that way.

Lauren Barkume:

Yes, it is. And so yeah, that that product development and design courses really going to help to, you know, walk you through all those those steps to create, you know, to to adapt a traditional type of technique, or a traditional product to something that might be, you know, a product line or something that is going to fit into the market and still be true and honor those amazing predictions from the community. Right? Yeah,

Dondrill Glover:

absolutely. You know, Lauren youth, one can't speak about he gay and not talk about the 40 plus years of history, the mission, the passion, the work, the reach the demographic, and that mission, what keeps it going, you know, it's core, but what moves it forward. I mean, you guys have been, it's, you know, it's, it's pretty amazing that all of this time has been invested, thrived in making the kind of social impact that ataa has been able to do around the world.

Lauren Barkume:

Yeah, I mean, it's, it's inspiring to look back at our, you know, 45 year history and just see all of the lives that we've touched. And, and I think that really speaks to the passion of all of the people that we work with, you know, it's not just a to artisans itself, but it's, it's our partners, it's our, you know, team members, it's our consultants, it's our, it's also the artists and partners who are just so passionate about keeping traditions alive, and, you know, helping artisans to make more money for their families. So we have, you know, this, this amazing sort of team of people who really care that is wider than just age artisans, it's also the market, and then people who buy, keep that going, and, and, you know, in 45 years, you have to evolve. I mean, if you think back to the 70s, when we started, you know, no, no internet, no, no digital markets, there's things have changed a lot in that time. And so we've had to go through all these evolutions, with every new technology, and with every market change, you know, HR is instance, has had to evolve. So, you know, we're doing it again, and

Dondrill Glover:

this is our next evolution and evolution. Well, you know, leading the pack, and I think it's fantastic. I want to dive a little deeper into this new developing platform.

Lauren Barkume:

Yeah. So I mean, this, this platform, we are really excited about. And, as I mentioned, we've got, you know, the artists and branding artists, and product development and design, and also artists and marketing, I think a lot of people sort of equate marketing and sales or a lot of businesses, you know, aren't necessarily, you know, it all sort of gets strung together. And so really, once you have that brand, marketing is just taking that brand into action, and like what you're doing with it, and especially now in this last year, we've we've heard from so many businesses that are adapting, pivoting, adding new sales channels, you know, they're thinking about now, how do I, how do I go from, you know, export to wholesalers, and I add, you know, I want to add retail, like online, and have an online online business. So we've seen, you know, an unprecedented number of people who are sort of shifting and adding new sales channels. And those, those sales tails have different ways to market. And so you know, if you're reaching direct to consumer, that's a very different path of marketing, you know, than going through tradeshow and meeting, meeting your buyers online. So this class is really going to help sort of clarify, you know, based on your sales channels, and creating that digital home, that's gonna speak to your customer into your audience, and having really clear like, where your where your market channels are and how you're speaking in those different in those different channels and action in your brand.

Dondrill Glover:

Yes, that presentation always ignites a lot of questions. It's such an important learning for artists in groups, figuring out the right sales, distribution channels and getting products to retailers and buyers. So on I'm definitely looking forward to seeing that and seeing what I even myself can learn new in that space. Before we get down to kind of the final call to action, or and I'd love for us to talk directly to buyers and retailers because ataa has a great booth in the digital market featuring your at a Mexico project. Can you talk a little bit about that and what buyers and retailers can find in that collection?

Lauren Barkume:

Yeah, we are really excited to be in the New York digital market. This platform has been a tremendous support and just keeping us connected to a retailer community and to New York now. So you know, ATM Mexico, has a wonderful collection of products that are all handmade in Chiapas, in the Yucatan. So buyers and retails refined, you know, beautiful assortment, we have hand woven home decor, and also apparel, using sort of traditional loom techniques. We also have, you know, beautiful cross stitching and, and lovely sort of embroidery techniques. And yeah, hammocks as well, the hammocks, good seller.

Dondrill Glover:

Oh, definitely love the hammocks. I mean, the entire collection is great. But if you're looking at outdoor living, and what's happening now, with people creating these additional spaces, they're really perfect for that. But you're just going to find, you know, buyers and retailers, I'm speaking directly to you, you're going to find so many beautiful things in that collection. And you know, Lauren, as she said, you know, you guys have been working in chip as for for many years now. And it really shows in the quality of the work. When will buyers and retailers have the opportunity to connect with a TA at New York now live?

Lauren Barkume:

Yeah, we're planning on doing our next in person show in January 2022. So next year beginning, we'll be back in the market. Oh,

Dondrill Glover:

it's wonderful to know that you guys will be joining us in 2022. But you're here in the digital market. So we have you now and we're excited for that. We are, of course, you know, returning to the ground in August, August 8, through the 12th. We're excited to be back, you know, we've been listening to buyers and retailers and watching the market. And we're just finding that our buyers in our community, they want to connect, they want to be in the booth, they want to touch product, they've got tons of questions to ask. And we're really excited about bringing people back together safely and reigniting a space that we love so much so. And Lauren, I guess moving on to the next question, I want to talk in planning for what's happening now. You know, what can we do? What can we do to support and join the call to action for for the for the new program happening this month?

Lauren Barkume:

Yeah, so you know, we we encourage you to, you know, join us if you are interested in getting, you know, sort of an overview of the artisan sector, or if you have an artisan partner who you're working with who might really benefit from getting that, that dive in and an action plan to be able to take them forward with new strategy. So are the cost of the program is $740. And it's for four days, so four half days in the program, and that includes small group coaching. So we encourage you to you know, buy your ticket, if you're interested or share this with someone who might benefit. We also have, you know, things will be announced soon about the artists and business lab courses. So, yeah, encourage you to go to our new website for the platform. The new website, yes, which is artists and business lab.org where you can buy your ticket.

Dondrill Glover:

Nice, okay, good. So new website really, really important. We'll have to plug that. And I want to talk about quickly on the other channels that the audience can connect with with a TA.

Lauren Barkume:

Yeah, so we have social media channels. You know, you can find us of course, at at artisans and on Facebook, on on LinkedIn on Instagram. We've also got our you know, our h artisans website, which is at a creative learning.org. Yeah, so the program is from June 22 to 25th. And our registration closes on June 7. So that's coming up. So get your get your ticket in now. And, and you can do so on artists in business. lab.org.

Dondrill Glover:

Fantastic. Lauren, look at the time it's flown by. It's been so wonderful chatting with you today. And, you know, I want to further Thank you VHA family for all the incredible work that you continue to do to socially impact. empower our global artists and communities around the world. It's always a pleasure to connect and it was our privilege to to get the word out in support in that way. So it's really been wonderful talking today.

Lauren Barkume:

Oh, thank you don Joel in New York now for having us here today. We really appreciate you helping us get the word out.

Dondrill Glover:

Oh, absolutely. And listeners please remember to connect with at a at a Mexico in the digital market, and we'll look forward to seeing you soon. To learn more about a to artisans, new artists and business lab, please visit artists and business lab.org. To learn more about a to artisans visit ataa creative learning.com Thank you for listening to the New York now podcast. Make sure to tune in weekly for engaging and insightful conversations touching on the most relevant topics facing our community today. visit to your gmail.com to learn more about our market and how you can join in on the conversation.