Acacia Creations was founded in 2007 by Maura Kroh. During her work in refugee camps across Africa, Maura constantly noticed the natural artistic talent of the residents and the beautiful hand-crafted items they produced. At the same time, she also noticed the frustration of artisans with no outlet to sell their crafts and no way to generate income from their work. And so Acacia Creations was founded as a way to connect Kenyan artisans with the global consumer marketplace.
The mission of Acacia Creations has always been to improve lives in a long-lasting and sustainable way. They go beyond fair trade by creating jobs, providing training, and giving back to communities through our education and healthcare initiatives. They work directly with hundreds of artisans at our Nairobi, Kenya studio and across East Africa to improve their skills and product designs. Recently they begain working with artisans in Vietnam as well. This ornament is made by recycled paper artisans in Vietnam.
Au Lac Designs is a fair trade organization in Vietnam that helps traditional craft producers develop their small businesses and create sustainable development for the rural poor. They have worked with craft producers for over ten years in a development capacity, building their experience in exporting to international markets and their understanding of international market demands design, quality control and production management - all the while ensuring business training and fair trade principles are implemented. Au Lac Designs is a fair trade business to business company that provides the best quality Vietnamese products to the international marketplace.
Au Lac works with many craft communities in Vietnam producing jewelry made of horn, bags and clothing made of silk or recycled materials, ceramic pieces, carved wood items, and many more. Their buffalo horn jewelry is made by hand, and is a process where first the material is heated, flattened, carved, sanded, polished, and then is crafted into cuffs, earrings, and necklaces. All horn items are made out of the buffalo’s by-products, therefore it is not harmed in any way. Following a tradition where all animal parts are used after death, nothing goes to waste.
Au Lac Designs’ goal is simple: they want to help bring employment opportunities back to the artisans. They are always coming up with new products to keep things fresh for the buyer. Most recently, they have been introducing the use of recycled materials, to create a wide array of items out of used paper, rubber, fabrics, and glass. In order to create a sustainable enterprise, they also focus a great amount of their time and energy into their education seminars, which cover topics such small business development, exporting, global trends, quality control, and product management.
Craftbeauty is a fair trade craft organization that provides skills and a steady source of income to disadvantaged women who wouldn't otherwise have any options, including farmers and women with disabilities. In Vietnam, only about 15% of disabled persons receive training in vocational skills, and many end up unemployed and very poor. Craftbeauty runs a fair-trade factory that houses the main office and a manufacturing area. In addition, they work with artisans working in provincial villages, employing over 100 people in Hanoi and surrounding areas.
Craftbeauty works with various materials, playing with texture and color in our products. They create a wide range of products including handbags, accessories, clothes, scarves and soft furnishings, using many textile techniques and digital design. They work with clients to develop new products and enjoy making their own in-house designs each year.
Craftbeauty offers these women between the ages of 18 and 40 years old a chance to learn about silk weaving, tailoring, embroidery, fashion, and quality control, and pays almost double the Vietnamese national livable wage. In addition to giving them a source of income, a skill set, and a safe workplace, these positions help the women retain their dignity, self worth, and confidence.