After joining the Inaugural MarketPlace Junior Board in February 2009, all the incoming members took part in a one day orientation with Pushpika (MarketPlace’s founder) and the Board.The most memorable part of that February afternoon for me was the video testimonial of the MarketPlace artisans in Mumbai. Their accounts of how MarketPlace had changed their lives – stories from their everyday life, their struggles, their triumphs are all etched in my heart and mind. Those honest endearing smiles would bring tears to any eyes. Having grown up in India, I have very closely witnessed the plight of women like our MarketPlace artisans, hence it was very heart warming to be associated with a cause that I felt very deeply for.
Since that day, I have always wondered what it would be like to meet these artisans, talk to them face to face, hear their stories, know their dreams and learn about their everyday challenges. Every time we opened boxes full of Marketplace apparel for sales’, events or fundraisers, I tried to visualise the face behind those beautiful batik prints, embroidered designs and colorful jackets. I would come up with a mental list of questions I would ask if I met them. Considering the struggles these women have been through and how hard their lives were, the quality and beauty of their work impressed me more every time. Every fundraiser, I would wonder what change did we make today for our Armaan Club kids.
When Pushpika informed us that two of our artisans-Manisha Pawar and Shaily Agrawal would be visiting Chicago this summer-I was more than thrilled. Finally, I get to meet the people behind the very unique and beautiful MarketPlace creations, exchange stories, learn about their everyday lives, work and family. With a string of activities planned for them, we can not wait for them to meet with our customers, visit our catalog production site and learn more about product marketing here.It sure will be one of a kind experience for us as well as the artisans.It will start off with a fundraiser dinner and will continue with artisan visits to Serrv headquarters, customer interactions etc.
We all are thrilled to welcome Manisha and Shaily to Chicago, and will be updating this space with details on their experiences in Chicago. Please share your thoughts or any questions you might have for both of them.