Friday, June 16, 2017

Scaling the Sale of Educational Artisan Products in Guatemala

Written by F2F Volunteer  Jo Anne Cohn 

 F2F volunteer Jo Anne Cohn
   visiting a shop in Antigua which carries DIDART kits

This month I had my first opportunity to work with Farmer-to-Farmer and Partners of the Americas. My assignment was to assist DIDART, a small business which makes educational kits for children in Guatemala. My task was to help staff members develop a sales strategy in order to enter new markets for their craft products.

First, let me tell you a little about the product. Each kit comes with raw materials gathered by indigenous communities in Guatemala to make a craft. In addition, each kit contains a “passport” with an App to download. Once the App is downloaded, you can visit Guatemala electronically and learn more about the country's diverse indigenous populations and how the raw materials are used to make artisan crafts. Out of my kit which contained pine needles, I made a bracelet! Other kits include manguey for making key chains, clay for making figures and seeds for making masks.

 DIDART employee Anna Lucia Quevado modeling a DIDART display in a store where DIDART kits are sold

Most of the DIDART kits sold in Guatemala are sold to schools. I did have the opportunity to accompany the DIDART team on a sales call to the Liceo Javier, in Guatemala City. In addition, we went to Antigua to visit local shops where kits are being sold. DIDART is also teaming up with the private sector in the area of social responsibility. The idea is for corporations to buy kits to be used in underserved communities.

 DIDART employee Marielos Pichillá making a sales presentation to a school in Guatemala City

What I like about DIDART kits is that not only is it a great learning tool for children, it helps out the local economy as well by buying raw materials from more than 250 local artisans. There’s also an environmental component to DIDART. They have teamed up with CBC (Central America Bottling Corporation) to develop an application called “Ecounidos” where you can determine the location of the recycling centers nearest to you.

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