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23
Jan

“…community is in a crisis.”

   Posted by: admin   in

21 March 2017  Hi Renice, thanks for your time.
The craftswomen of Artcamp have been asking me to help them as their community is in a crisis.
As soon as we can get these talented artisans stabilized, I will get totally out of your hair.
You said to me twice that their jewelry does not sell. Frankly, this is a gross misconception.
The reason sales are going down is NOT because their jewelry does not sell. This is for sure.

One reason because their jewelry is flagrantly copied on a systematic basis by competitors.

I was told that they sent you images of more than 100 new styles in late 2016

but that they receieved no reply, so they stopped sending these communications.
In 2017 they continue their impressive trajectory as premier jewelry designers of Northamerica
1. The abalone shell inlay jewelry is the creation of their parents and grandparents
2. The stone mosaic jewelry is their unique innovation only now being copied in India.
3. Now, they have developed an outstanding totally original beadwork jewelry.

  (How long do you think they have before this new line of theirs is knocked off?)

Please advise me how to go about this new task of helping this community again
without stepping on your toes. This is my concern at the moment since the people

here are quite fearful of reprisals and are hesitant and making objections even
when it is a matter of life and death for them as an original artisan community.
I feel there must be a misunderstanding, please won’t you help me clear this up!
If you would support them now I am sure you will find them to be very grateful.
Look at the pieces in the file attachment – while its a still totally new line
before it gets copied elsewhere, by those who NEVER create anything themselves.
Also I will send you some PDFs of the book we are about to publish. This is to provide
evidence that I am who I say I am – a novelist and screenplay writer who is a great
friend of the craftspeople who do need a little help every few years and this
has been the purpose of my contacting you, to coordinate with globalcrafts efforts
i intend to make on behalf of these talented, hardworking and creative artisans.
I dont want to do anything that might be regarded as a trangression of ethics
or of fair trade rules. Is there any possiblity of some transparency for the
express purpose of getting them back to the level they were at five years ago?
If I have already trangressed by having contacted you in this way, i am sorry,
I promise you, i assure you, it was neither in ignorance nor malice! The purpose
of my contact is to help you improve your communications with the cooperative
and with the handcraft artisan communities in Tecalpulco and Taxco El Viejo.
When you are too busy to talk with me about this do you mean that you will
always be too busy to talk with me (or with them directly)? regarding their
unique situation as one of the original members of Fair Trade Federation
and the source of several small fortunes of re-sellers of their products.
You dont have to do them any special favors! They are not beggars.
It is really sad to see these craftspeople one of the most creative
and productive communities you will find in northamerica are reduced
to begging for orders and petrified that their customers are so far
removed they are perceived more as threats rather than as partners.
I dont want to put words in their mouths. Every single person here
must see this in a different way, depending on their own situation.
Maybe there is an ombudsman or an established procedure for the
establishment/reestablishment of good healty relations between
the artisan producers and Fair Trade wholesalers and retailers.
Please take the time to read this letter and remember I am not
getting paid for this! however, this is indeed a worthy cause.
If there is something significant that I don’t understand
then please please please Renice let me know what it is.
Best wishes, Kindly, if you will, confirm receipt of this.

Martin Rizzi

Taxco Mexico.

p.s. let me know if there is anything you want me to communicate on your behalf to these craftswomen.

pps. again, once i am able to get them stabilized, i will not contact you any more if you don’t want!

 

24 March 2017 Hi Martin,
I feel you are misinterpreting much in our conversations.  Artcamp jewelry is one of our most successful lines and we want to be able to buy more.  We have tried introducing new products but still haven’t been able to improve on our $60-$70K in yearly sales (new product sales just replaced old product sales).  That is why we have established the relationship with the designer who will start in April.  She has designed pieces for one of the fastest growing fair trade businesses and has really good ideas of what will sell.  The designs will be Artcamp’s — I have made it clear to the designer that the designs will be quickly knocked off if they are successful.
I realize the community is in crisis but the stability of our orders is something I think shouldn’t be taken lightly.  Kevin’s family in the UK opened a separate business in the UK named Global Crafts.  A few years ago, they tried to place orders with our price list and were told that was not possible.  They ended up buyingt the stock from us for cost from our stock.  That relationship could have helped both organizations (they no longer are in operation)  You need to pursue other buyers, including those in the US and let us continue to do our approach and let us work on growing our business our own way.We will not be cold calling our customers — that is not who we are.  I ask that you respect that we’ve built a successful business using our own techniques.
Yes, I received 100 of designs late last year and I did respond.  They were pages lifted from Costello’s site (including links to accolades from is customers) —  I do not want to compete directly with him in the fair trade world.  And while the designs may be Artcamp’s, he’s selling the knockoffs to fair trade retailers for lower prices. I certainly understand you don’t want to go after him — neither do I so he’s going to be competition to our Artcamp sales.
We are after the same thing — growing sustainable business for Artcamp.  Why not approach some of the large worldwide fair trade retailers like Trade Aid in New Zealand, and the European companies and Canada?
And Kevin really does leave early most days – he was never there when you called,.  If you want to  speak to him, call earlier.  We will be out of town next week at the FTF conference. 
Best Regards,
Renice
 Here is my comment. January 2018. Here I am being told, in response to my concerned inquiries. That the 60K-70K annual sales volume of Artcamp was not producted to plummet to 36K the same year this letter was written at the end of the First Quarter. What happened? Wasn’t there a way to identify the causes of and arrest this dramatic fall-off? I was politely offering my services to help, because I could see the artisan families were suffering.
Apparently Renice received images from the cooperative that indicated that they (the artisans) were the owners of the designs being knocked off in the local tianguis and marketed through Fair Trade dealers. Rather than showing solidarity with them (the artisans), Renice lines up with her Fair Trade colleague and tells them (the women of the cooperative) that they have no choice except to submit to the situation.
Renice suggests: ‘Why not approach some of the Fair Trade organizations such as those of Australia and New Zealand’ It is telling that Renice did not cooperatate in this effort. Only her recommendation could possibly get through to the buyers at such nation-level Fair Trade distribution organizations.
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