When I started, I found artisan groups on the internet. But when I arrived in Nepal, I found out the folks with the nice website were just middle-men who said one thing and paid the artisans lip service and little else. The middle-men would work with lots of groups and pay them as little as possible and had no control over quality and didn’t care about quality. It was not easy to find the folks that made the items. I would walk thru the tourist shops in Thamel and find some really nice, unique items. I’d then ask the shop owner to take me to his “factory”. I would pay the shop owner for his help and would then work with the lady who runs the ‘factory’. Almost always it was a lady with a few other ladies that worked in her home, or that would work in their home and she would help. In the beginning I was working with lots and lots of ladies who had an internet connection and we could communicate via email. Over time this became unmanageable. The quality and consistency was not where it needed to be. Over time, I gravitated to working with just six artisan groups, some of whom then work with other smaller groups. Each group has a speciality, such as high-end, expensive hemp handbags, less expensive hemp items such as wallets and coin purses, crocheted hemp items, felted wool items, ect.
our values photos artisans discuss