The mission of the social shop EthnoDesign is economic empowerment of traditional craftsmakers by facilitating development of design and quality of their products and supporting sales processes. Georgia owns great culture of making traditional crafts products that reflect the history and culture of the country. However, for many years traditional craftsmakers have been facing extreme challenges in selling their products.
As a result of extensive studies several reasons were identified: the products were of low quality, design of the products was not contemporary and did not follow up to date tendencies, and most of them were not functional which means that they could have been used as souvenirs but not as useful things for everyday life.
In response to these challenges, in 2016 with support of the Children and Youth Fund the Georgian Traditional Handicraft Association established EthnoDesign. EthnoDesign believes that preservation of traditions in crafts sector is impossible if the created products do not follow actual market tendencies. As the product design and quality of most products made was low, EthnoDesign began working with traditional craftsmakers on product development and design improvement by providing local and international masterclasses, trainings, group and individual consultations.
Collaboration with ca. 350 traditional craftspeople across Georgia
Around 200 crafts makers increased their income by 50%
About 3000 new production lines have been developed
Plans for the future: creating a “moving” EthnoDesign model and expanding collaboration with museums
This is the ongoing process for the social shop. As a result, EthnoDesign has found its key to success that is harmonious synthesis of traditional and modern were quality standards are on the 1st place. Nowadays, EthnoDesign, the social and concept store, unites the works of about 350 traditional craftspeople from all over the Georgia. After successful opening and functioning of the first EthnoDesign store in Tbilisi, the second one was opened in Vardzia Historical-Architectural Museum-Reserve in 2017. EthnoDesign sells its products using online platforms: www.ethnodesign.b2c.ge The works are exhibited in various museums of Georgia, where presented works are created based on specific museum collections.
The social shop EthnoDesign offers handicraft products created in all of the regions of Georgia, including accessories for women and men, household items, interior accessories, jewlery, clothing accessories, traditional weapon, souvenirs and traditional textile.
About 3000 new production lines have been developed and the proceeds from the sale of handicrafts have become a major source of income for craftsmakers. Additionally, increase of engagement of young masters in traditional crafts has been observed that is considered as one of the most important achievements of EthnoDesign. Traditional craft products have become more functional and are not represented only by souvenirs as up to date approach to design and products created based on traditions have become attractive for Georgian as well as foreign customers.
In 2022, with financing of CSRDG EU project a “moving” EthnoDesign model will be created. The shop on the wheels will travel to various regions of Georgia and will continuously offer new sale points to customers. Additionally, it will increase sales opportunities of the local craftsmakers. Furthermore, EthnoDesign is planning to increase its chain by expanding partnerships with Georgian museums. This envisages creation of new production lines in cooperation with local craftsmakers, which will be inspired by the collections preserved in museums.