Empowering the craft-based work economy, the Nest organization is a remarkable non-profit working across the United States and around the globe. Offering both tools and educational programs as well as pro-bono consultancies to female artisan and maker businesses, Nest is making real waves. As an advisory board member, philanthropist Pam Baer has insights into the latest updates from Nest. Here, she shares news of the non-profit’s latest triumphs.
Investing in the handcrafted sector: The handcrafted sector is an untapped area of the supply chain. “In the 5 years I have worked with Nest, I’ve witnessed first-hand the potential of the impact these makers and artisans have on their local economy. It also affords these women the opportunity to work from their homes and helps to preserve the techniques that are unique to their culture. Investing in this area not only helps to finance and empower the individual makers and their communities but benefits our economy as a whole.”, Baer states.
According to a recent survey of 130 brands, more than half weren’t clear on where their products came from. For that reason, Nest supports the growth of more than 1,500 artisan workers around the world. What’s more, the Nest Guild offers these businesses a wide range of handy resources, all of which are completely free. Put simply, the initiative gives the owners of businesses of all sizes the chance to build on their successes and move forward without financial constraints.
It doesn’t end there. Once these artisan businesses are Guild members, they gain access to many more opportunities. These individuals have the chance to apply for the Artisan Accelerator program, which helps businesses grow organically. Additionally, members can also join the Ethical Handcraft program to advance supply chain transparency. These—along with further programs—have put the power back into makers’ hands.
COVID-19 relief grants: It’s no overstatement to say that the pandemic changed all of our lives irrevocably. During this period, many artisan makers and businesses felt an immense amount of financial pressure. Weathering the storm was more difficult for some than others, and this largely independent sector felt its impact keenly. That is why Nest launched the COVID-19 relief grants scheme for Artisan Guild Members. This program offers financial and educational aid in order to build their eCommerce platforms and enhance marketing efforts.
“Without Nest, many of these artisans would have had to fold their businesses due to the pandemic. This support has proved to be invaluable and has empowered them to sustain and grow their crafts.”
Partnering with Etsy: Last month, Nest partnered with Etsy as part of a new program to bring Charleston, South Carolina’s Gullah Basket Weavers to the online marketplace for the first time. The handwoven baskets are made from traditional West African weaving techniques including a combination of sweetgrass, pine needles, bulrush, and palmetto palm materials. This new partnership follows the successful sold-out launch partnership between Nest and Etsy for Gee’s Bend quilters.
These partnerships are instrumental in elevating local makers and raising awareness for their products. When it comes to the weavers, Etsy has also contributed a huge $75,000 to the community, enabling them to excel. Pam Baer adds, “Through these programs and support, Nest and its partners are making a positive impact on the artisans, their businesses, and their culture. As an advisory board member, I am proud of the work that this non-profit has done and the leaps it continues to make.”
About Pam Baer: Born in Texas, Pam Baer attended the University of Texas in Austin ahead of moving to New York City to work in the financial services sector. After marrying Larry Baer, CEO of the San Francisco Giants, she relocated to San Francisco. The couple now lives in the city and has four children together.
A well-known community leader famed for her philanthropic work; Baer is involved in numerous charitable organizations. In 2002, she joined the board of the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation where she served until 2018. She is now a Lifetime Director.
In 2014, she launched For Goodness Sake, a benefit corporation supporting health, educational and local causes by selling accessories and donating a percentage of the proceeds. Over its four-year run, the benefit corporation gave back more than $1 million to local organizations.