I have had the honor to be involved with Nest for the past 5 years. Nest works with female artisans around the world to help them grow their businesses and increase local economies while preserving their handcrafting culture. Their mission is to build a world with greater gender equity and the economic inclusion of emergent artists and creative makers.The Nest team was thrilled to recently connect with Pivotal Ventures, a company owned by Melinda French Gates. Using both philanthropic and investment capital to fund transformational organizations, Pivotal Ventures supports partners that expand women’s power and influence. In our first meeting with the Pivotal Ventures team, we outlined the mission of Nest, the evolution of Nest’s Makers United Program, and hopes for future growth.
Inspired by Nest's mission and the parallel between the organization's goals, Pivotal Ventures decided to grant Nest $250,000. This grant will help to fund our Makers United program, which will enable the Nest team to support even more makers who face barriers to business development services.
In 2016, Nest launched its first program in the United States called Makers United. With a focus on addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion within the growing maker’s movement, the program helps to elevate and empower makers from under-resourced communities. The program has grown to 6 regions, reaching over 500 across the nation and continues to add entrepreneurs to build a more vibrant makers movement.
With the help of Makers United, we were able to expand these businesses by launching maker owned shops on Etsy. Nest added 9 quilter shops and and unveiled 16 of the first-ever Gullah weavers shops. These unique artisans have never before had the chance to leverage e-commerce channels to sell their incredible sweetgrass baskets.
The Etsy Uplift Fund works to dismantle barriers in entrepreneurship by supporting nonprofits that help create equal opportunities for creative entrepreneurs. The Uplift funds allows talented artisans, like the Gullah weavers and the Gee’s Bend Quilters of Alabama, to extend their reach through Etsy’s platform to showcase their beautiful items, which helps them earn a meaningful income. Check out more about the Etsy Uplift Fund and our work and partnership with Etsy here.
Nest started to receive glowing press reviews just 48 hours after the launch on Etsy. Southern Living praised Charleston's Famous Gullah Basket Weavers Selling Online for the First Time and House Beautiful had a nice piece called Nonprofit Nest Partners With Etsy to Offer Handwoven Gullah Baskets.
Partnerships with Pivotal Ventures, Etsy and committed programs like Makers United, will enable Nest to realize their goals to amplify and pave a path to a new financial future for artisan communities and women worldwide. 2022 presents me with a unique opportunity to travel to some of these regions to meet and see firsthand some of the artisans and makers and their handcrafted merchandise. I am looking forward to our travels and seeing not only their work but how their lives have changed due to Nest and their partners.
By continuing to support women in underserved areas, Nest has not only aligned with my mission, but has been one of my most gratifying partnerships. Their hard work and dedication will ensure their continued success and I am proud and honored to be involved with them.
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Pam Baer