“More business for artisans means more jobs for women, with craft serving as the second largest employer of women in developing economies.”Rebecca van Bergen, Nest Founder and Executive Director
Artisan craft is a $500+ billion global industry. While the home-based labor force represents an enormous global population, these workers—predominantly women—have historically been overlooked and underserved. Enter Nest, a nonprofit dedicated to building a new handworker economy intent on making home- and small workshop-based labor visible and safe.
We began working with Nest in 2014, when we formed an industry-wide coalition of retailers interested in developing a global certification program for artisans. Over the next few years, Nest researchers collaborated with craft communities to develop 100+ standards, each designed to ensure industry-wide transparency and compliance for home workers. Nest stands apart for centering their process around artisans, working hand-in-hand with home-based businesses. Their training-first program addresses the wide degree of variation in decentralized supply chains.
In December 2017, at the United Nations, Nest launched its Standards for Homes and Small Workshops. As a founding partner—initially through our West Elm brand—Williams-Sonoma, Inc. has expanded the program to include Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids and Mark and Graham. We were the first retailer to launch products with the Nest Seal of Ethical Handicraft in December 2018. While the Nest standards give brands a comprehensive way to work with artisan suppliers, they also give customers transparency into the process—letting shoppers know that their purchases were ethically made by hand.
Customers searching for products made in partnership with Nest can shop at:
- West Elm: The Nest Seal launched in 2018 on handcrafted rugs from India as well as decorative accessories, like Peruvian terracotta planters designed by Nest Guild member Diego Olivero.
- Pottery Barn: In 2019, Pottery Barn certified select baskets, including its best-selling Seagrass Basket collection, handmade in the Philippines.
- Pottery Barn Kids: Filipino handworkers weave together rope and abaca to make storage baskets for children, certified since 2019.
- Mark and Graham: The newest Nest partner from our family of brands, Mark and Graham worked with Nest Artisan Guild member Larone Artisans on a capsule of handwoven bags launching Spring 2020. Each bag is made with locally sourced, sustainably harvested materials.
These collections mark the start of a new approach to artisan production—one that makes homework a safe and viable option for artisans around the world. To learn more, visit buildanest.org.