New initiative to boost Puebla's handicraft sales in U.S., Mexico & other markets

Aug 17, 2015, 09:45 ET from Creative Learning

WASHINGTON, Aug. 17, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Nearly 400 artisans from the Mexican state of Puebla will be prepared to enter competitive national and international markets through an innovative training and relationship building program announced today by Governor Rafael Moreno Valle and the nonprofit Aid to Artisans. (

Called "Idea + Materia," the 18-month project will provide 375 artisans in 25 municipalities in Puebla with intensive training that builds their artistic and business skills, and then connects them with Mexican and international buyers.

"Puebla's artisans are talented, resourceful and have earned the respect of consumers," says Puebla Governor Moreno Valle. (  "I am launching this program as a way to take their skills to the next level and to provide them with an opportunity to introduce their products to new channels in lucrative markets."

Governor Moreno Valle emphasized that the benefits of Idea + Material will extend beyond the 375 artisans and will ultimately support suppliers and others in the 25 municipalities.

Public-Private-Nonprofit Partnership
Funded by the State of Puebla, Idea + Materia was designed in collaboration with Aid to Artisans, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. Aid to Artisans, which will manage Idea + Materia, has 38 years of creating economic opportunities for more than 100,000 artisans in 110 countries.

Idea + Materia combines the expertise and resources of the public, private and nonprofit sectors to advance these small businesses, says William Kruvant, Ph.D., President of Aid to Artisans.

"I applaud Governor Moreno Valle for his vision. This public, private and nonprofit model is an approach that can be easily replicated in other states and other countries," says Kruvant. "It builds on Aid to Artisans' fundamental principles of empowering these craftsmen with up-to-date skills and building sustainable business processes that can continue long after our intervention."

Governor Moreno Valle and his administration have been working with Aid to Artisans since the beginning of 2015 to develop the project, identify target communities, conduct baseline studies and more.

Through this partnership with the State of Puebla, Aid to Artisans will assist the 375 artisans with contemporary designs, improving their production processes, developing better business skills and building sustainable commercial relationships with national and international buyers. Trainings will take place in Puebla and the United States.

New York Training & Tradeshow Aug. 15
Two artisans from Puebla are participating in Aid to Artisans' Market Readiness Program in New York City, a four-day intensive program with internationally recognized designers, business consultants and wholesale buyers. The two from Puebla will be joined by more than 20 artisans from around the world at the training, which starts Aug. 15.

The Market Readiness Program coincides with NYNOW, the Market for Home, Lifestyle + Gift, which is New York's largest tradeshow showcasing products from more than 2,600 vendors and some 43,000 representatives from the industry. The Aug. 15 to 19 event is a leading opportunity for artisans to display their products and meet with potential wholesale buyers. (

Governor Moreno Valle recognized Idea + Materia's ability to showcase a selection of products from Puebla during the tradeshow, as well as during a special reception on Aug. 17. As part of the initiative, Puebla will have a larger exhibit during the same tradeshow in February and August 2016.

Maria Eugenia Pineda Melendez, Mexico Director for Aid to Artisans, says the Market Readiness Program and the NYNOW tradeshow are two key components in the Idea + Materia program.

"The Market Readiness Program provides intensive preparation for entry into the U.S. market and vital information for building successful export businesses," says Pineda Melendez. "Previous participants have since built robust sales to clients in the U.S. and elsewhere."

Aid to Artisans University
Participants in the Idea + Materia program will have access to other proprietary and publicly available tools for individuals and organizations that want to advance their businesses, including a new online learning platform called Aid to Artisans University. (

Aid to Artisans University is a portal that offers short, high-quality online courses relevant to artisan-based enterprises, as well as a portal to connect and share ideas with others in the sector. (

About Aid to Artisans
Aid to Artisans ( is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing immediate income to local artisans based on their present skills. With craft as the second largest source of income behind agriculture for marginalized groups in developing countries, Aid to Artisans builds successful craft enterprises and transmits business skills that are adaptable to the ever-changing requirements of the modern market place.

Aid to Artisan's approach centers on market-driven product development, entrepreneurial training and access to the nonprofit's international buyer network, which has been developed during more than 38 years of creating sustainable income for artisans in more than 110 countries.

To expand and strengthen its worldwide leadership in craft sector development, Aid to Artisans joined Creative Learning, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit organization dedicated to direct intercultural understanding and cooperation, in October 2012.

SOURCE Creative Learning