In an attempt to better understand the source of the inequities, and how the artisan sector can approach greater fairness, the DEED Lab, with affiliated researchers Elizabeth Bailey and Luciana Jabur, has embarked on developing and publishing a series of case studies of a wide range of businesses and organizations working in the sector. The case studies aim to represent a snapshot of the current global artisan sector to better identify the various existing business and support models. 

We are interested in acknowledging both successes and failures; what is working and what is not, and more importantly what could work in the future. We hope to create a resource that leads to the advancement of the sector as a whole by allowing both current and new stakeholders to learn from existing organizations, and not reinvent the wheel. All of the case studies drafted to date have at least one founder/director based in the United States, and they all share the commonality of sourcing labor from non-U.S. countries including Guatemala, Kenya, and India. 

Coming soon: Free downloadable PDFs of each case study.


Organizations profiled

  • Abury
  • Duka
  • Friends of Tilonia
  • Global Goods Partners
  • International Folk Art Market
  • Mercado Global 
  • Nest
  • Novica


  • Robert Burack, DEED Fellow (2019 – ) and lead author
  • Silvia Garuti, DEED Research Assistant (2019 – ) and graphic designer
  • Luciana Jabur, affiliated researcher
  • Elizabeth Bailey, affiliated researcher
  • Alik Mikaelian, DEED Fellow (2017 – 19)


  • Cynthia Lawson Jaramillo, Associate Professor of Integrated Design, Parsons

Blog Posts

Event: Is Growth Good?

The artisan sector is a $500B+ industry, yet the majority of indigenous artisans are living in poverty and are socially isolated. For many organizations that employ artisans and seek to

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