One-line solution summary:
A digitally native brand that works with hundreds of rural artisans to craft the best products for socially conscious travelers
Pitch your solution.
-The artisan activity is the second largest source of employment in the developing world, but 70% of the artisans live in poverty. Their products, materials and channels don't match with what the world is wearing and usually end up as souvenirs, which is not a large enough market to sustain the livelihoods of millions of people
-We combine traditional handcrafts with materials, designs and sales channels targeted to the modern consumer, which allows us to provide hundreds of fair job opportunities to rural artisans
-We are already working with hundreds of rural artisans from the 5 poorest states in Mexico, and are preparing to expand to Peru and Colombia. We believe our model has the potential to create 1 million jobs in Latin America, Africa and Asia if we are able to scale it globally
Film your elevator pitch.
What specific problem are you solving?
-There are more than 200 million artisans around the World. Only in Mexico there are more than 12 million, and 70% of them live in poverty or extreme poverty
-Most artisans can do beautiful things with their hands, but the products where they implement them have very little demand. In most cases they are based on patterns from more than 50 years ago that are out of fashion. They also have a lot of difficulties to access the modern marketplace and mixing the online and physical worlds correctly
-Our model allows artisans to increase their monthly income by 300%, by tying their crafts to high value products, solid sales channels and a well recognized brand
What is your solution?
-Our in-house team understands each artisan technique, and uses market data and trends to design our products together with the artisans
-Artisans the handmade elements of each product, and we assemble all the materials in specialized workshops
-People discover and buy these products online (we receive more than 50,000 visitors every month in our online store) or in our physical stores (we currently have 5 and are rapidly expanding)
Who does your solution serve, and in what ways will the solution impact their lives?
-98% of the artisans we work with are indigenous women from rural communities
-We lived for months with rural families to understand the problem and design a solution with them. They work from their homes (as they need to take care of their kids) and decide how much products they want to make each month. They receive their payments inmediately after delivering each product, which allows them to plan for the future and become more financially secure
Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?Support workers to advocate for and access living wages, social safety nets, and financial security
Explain how the problem, your solution, and your solution’s target population relate to the Challenge and your selected dimension.
-The artisan activity is the largest source of employment for rural women living in poverty, and it's also the most disconnected from the current marketplace. We belive our solution has the potential to create job opportunities for thousands or millions of rural women and re-connect this amazing way of life with the real needs of the world.
In what city, town, or region is your solution team headquartered?Mexico City, CDMX, México
What is your solution’s stage of development?Growth: An organization with an established product, service, or business model rolled out in one or, ideally, several communities, which is poised for further growth
Who is the primary delegate for your solution?
Antonio Nuno, co-founder & CEO
If you have additional video content that explains your solution, provide a YouTube or Vimeo link here:
Which of the following categories best describes your solution?A new business model or process
Describe what makes your solution innovative.
-We spent all our college years developing a production model that allows us to work with thousands of rural artisans at the same time without changing their lifestyle. Mobile phones allow us to stay in touch with all of the communities in real-time and monitor each production
-Our sales model involves a mix of digital and physical channels, and leverages the potential of both worlds. We reach more than 2 million people every month through our different media channels, which allows to raise a lot of awareness about the issue and grow our online community
Describe the core technology that powers your solution.
-Mobile phones, messaging and ERP systems for the production side
-Ecommerce and social media for the sales side
Provide evidence that this technology works.
-Ecommerce has become one of the main sales channels for the millennial generation (our target)
Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:
What is your theory of change?
Connecting traditional handcrafts with contemporary products and channels wil increase demand, which will allow us to create more job opportunities for rural artisans. If we can create jobs for rural women, we can significantly increase their quality of life and unlock the potential of the most marginalized population group in the world
Select the key characteristics of your target population.
Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your solution address?
In which countries do you currently operate?
In which countries will you be operating within the next year?
How many people does your solution currently serve? How many will it serve in one year? In five years?
We currently work with 200 artisans, who support the livelihoods of 1,000 people. We plan to work with 1,000 in one year, and 10,000 in 5 years
What are your goals within the next year and within the next five years?
-This year we are launching in the US (We already did a Pop Up Store in Venice Beach). We believe that entering the US market will allow us to grow exponentially, as the market size is 200 times bigger than in Mexico.
What barriers currently exist for you to accomplish your goals in the next year and in the next five years?
-Fundraising (there are way less resources for startups in Mexico than in the US)
-Market Size (Mexico is a great country to test our model, but we need to expand to a larger market to be able to work with thousands of artisans)
How do you plan to overcome these barriers?
-We are already building relationships with US based investors, and are preparing to launch in the US this summer
What type of organization is your solution team?For-profit, including B-Corp or similar models
How many people work on your solution team?
20 full time, 15 part time (in the HQ)
How many years have you worked on your solution?
Why are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?
Our team has a great mix of design, production, logistics, marketing, ecommerce and retail experience. We have been able to bring people from the best companies in each industry to achieve this (eg: Vans, Apple, Levis, McKinsey, Bain)
What is your business model?
-We design, produce, promote and distribute our products (we are vertically integrated)
-We provide value to the artisans by buying their crafts, and value to our customers by selling them our finished products
Do you primarily provide products or services directly to individuals, or to other organizations?Individual consumers or stakeholders (B2C)
What is your path to financial sustainability?
-We are on track to reach break-even by 2021, by having more sales and gross profits than our operative costs
Why are you applying to Solve?
-To increase our visibility in the impact ecosystem
-To develop more connections and relationships in the US, the market we are trying to enter
-To become part of a community of social entrepreneurs doing great things and see how we can help them
In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?
Please explain in more detail here.
-Access to US based impact investors and VCs
-Access to US based talent in marketing, sales and operations that can help us grow our presence
-Exposure to media outlets to spread the word and reach more potential customers
- Antonio Nuno Co-founder & CEO, Someone Somewhere