Craftspeople have played critical roles in revitalizing and sustaining local creative economies for centuries, often working from their homes and community workshops. Many people underestimate the size of these informal workers. Around the world, up to 300 million people work from home, primarily doing craft-based handwork. These workers, who are mostly women, are frequently unnoticed, and the implementation of their social protections is the exception rather than the rule.
Nest is a non-profit organization that promotes the responsible growth and creative engagement of the artisan and maker economies to create a world with greater gender equity and economic inclusion. Through programs that promote the well-being of artisans in the United States and around the world.
They have enabled millions of individuals and their communities to thrive by bringing together artisans, philanthropists, and brands. Nest helps women get economic investment for their craft work to ensure the well-being of women whose source of employment is craftwork. It has been providing support and resources to makers who face barriers to equal access to market opportunities. They connect hand workers with brands and philanthropy to create more economic opportunities for workers everywhere. Nest helps ensure that any type of handwork is worthy of attention and opportunity and that it has the potential of craft-based employment to advance gender and economic equity.
Nest's Founder and Executive Director, Rebecca van Bergen, was drawn to craftsmanship as a means of self-expression and opportunity. Rebecca founded Nest at the age of 24 after following her passion for turning crafts.
One program, The Nest Guild is a global network supporting over 1,600 artisan businesses in 120 countries, affecting an estimated 1.2 million people. These businesses are 76% female-founded and employ 88% female workers and directly reach over 270,000 workers.
While employing artisans in a variety of crafts ranging from shibori dying to hand reed weaving, Guild members are united in their common goals of business growth and social improvement in their respective communities. Guild members gain access to Sourcing Opportunities from well-known brands as well as selling opportunities from Nest, allowing them to gain market access that would otherwise be unavailable.
In 2021, Nest has worked in partnership with 17 national brands to create economic opportunity for a world of artisans working from home. These partnerships have supported expanded market linkages for 138 artisan and maker businesses in the Nest Guild.
Another program is, Nest's Ethical Handcraft Program is transforming the fashion and home decor industries by making home-based craftwork a viable and safe option. In December 2017, the company of brand and artisan partners was launched at the United Nations.
By 2024, the creative manufacturing and handmade sector are expected to be worth $1 trillion. Much of this production occurs in informal settings such as artisans' homes or small workshops around the world. The ethical Handcraft program ensures that artisans and hand workers work in a safe and equitable environment, even when they work outside of the traditional four-walled factory.