In honor of International Women’s Day, the Founder and Executive Director of Nest celebrates women artisans around the world.

1. Craftsmanship connects us as women. The art of making beautiful objects with our hands is a sacred act that women have been engaged in since practically the beginning of time. Craft has sprung up as a pillar of cultural identity in virtually ever corner of the world. From the batik textile dying process in Indonesia, known locally as “the art of women’s hands” to elaborate Maasai beading in Kenya or backstrap loom weaving in Peru, women have been expressing themselves through garment-based craft for centuries. In a world today that is increasingly divided and continually unkind to women, we can find healing, strength, and beauty in what we make with our hands.

2. Craftsmanship gives women economic opportunity. Not only is craftsmanship a beautiful way to connect with women through shared artistry and creative expression, it is a way to truly support fellow women economically. The art of making is something that can be done from home, which is not a fact to be taken lightly considering that the majority of the world’s women face unsafe or unhealthy environments in the workplace. For many, they are family leaders, and craft gives them the means to earn a sustainable income while caring for their children. Craft production is the 2ndlargest employer of women in developing economies and 70% of garment production is estimated to be done by women.

3. Craftsmanship is a study in the beauty of imperfection. In a culture where perfection is often at the forefront, there is much we can learn about the perfection of imperfection through craftsmanship. The nature of handmade is to be imperfect and therein lies its beauty. That imperfection makes a garment one-of-a-kind and something to be treasured. In a mass produced world in which fashion runs the risk of homogenization, craftsmanship reintroduces the importance of being true to oneself and embracing ones supposed “flaws.” These are the hallmarks of real beauty.

Founded in 2006, Nest is a nonprofit committed to the social and economic advancement of global artisans and homeworkers through supply chain transparency, sustainable business development, and widespread industry advocacy. By providing artisan businesses with replicable but also high-impact programs while building scalable solutions to challenges facing the sector as a whole, Nest is creating a more inclusive and circular global economy with the power to alleviate poverty, strengthen families, and preserve endangered cultural traditions.