Marketing for Traditional Weavers: A Question of Values

The following is the text of a presentation for the First Asian Ikat Weavers Conference held by the Lake Sebu Indigenous Women Weavers’ Association (LASIWWAI) in the Philippines between April 17-19, 2012. I could not make the conference in person, but the presentation was made on my behalf by the organizers.

Threads of Life is a fairtrade-certified business that works with over 600 women weavers and their families on 11 Indonesian islands. These women are organized into 55 cooperatives and make high-quality natural-dyed traditional textiles that we sell through our gallery in Bali. We have been operating since 1998, and can sell everything these women make that meets our high quality control standards. We do not sell anywhere else. We have tried selling in the US and the UK, but have found that Bali is the best market. This is where we get the most customers.

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Connected and Aligned

ImageAgustina Soly lives 2 days travel from the nearest surfaced road. Her community in the remote highlands of West Sulawesi is beyond the reach of most Indonesian government services. People are very self-reliant here. Agustina is the school teacher and the coordinator for 7 weavers’ cooperatives with a total membership of 56 women. Weaving is an important source of income, and making traditional textiles is a huge source of cultural pride.

 

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