Back in 2009, CH met with Eve Blossom to learn about her sustainable textile initiative, Lulan Artisans, for which she employed women in rural villages throughout Asia to produce high-quality products.
Launched today, 24 September 2013, Blossom has expanded upon Lulan with WE'VE BUILT, an e-commerce community that partners designers with artisans and, ultimately, buyers. The site carries all types of global artisanal goods, and even includes the maker movement. Users can also follow the path of the product they purchased through videos and other updates. WE'VE BUILT is more than a shopping center, it's a community of producers, a hub of job stability and creation, as well as a portal to watch it all unfold.
The idea for WE'VE BUILT came to Blossom after a Lulan-sponsored worldwide design competition—with an aim to join designers with craftsmen—led to more than 1600 entries in 16 days. She realized that an online community was necessary for uniting designers with artisans—and customers with both. After developing the idea further, Blossom proceeded to carefully gather designers appropriate for WE'VE. From home decor, to accessories such as an iPad case made from repurposed rubber tires or a felt, hand-sewn purse, each product is an exclusive.
Thoughtful purchasing meets transparent production and storytelling through technology with the company. All buyers pre-order their desired goods, which guarantees that demand always dictates creation—resulting in a transparent process without waste. WE'VE discovered that a product run of 20 happens to be a sweet spot for small-batch sales. With a focus on people, place, process and product, all creators are equipped with the utensils to tell the story behind their item. Purchasers are granted the opportunity to watch, to understand what went into what they've bought. It's a new, continuous marketing and engagement experience.
To get involved in the community, visit WE'VE BUILT.
Portrait by Josh Rubin, all other photos by David Graver