Developing a new product with the right combination of shape, materials, technique, and color is a complex task, even for a seasoned product developer. Imagine designing products for buyers in the U.S. without ever having seen what they buy, where they shop, and how they live.
This is a challenge many young designers employed by SERRV’s artisan partners face. These designers recognize that a key to the success of their organizations, and to generating income that will effectively reduce poverty in their countries, is to develop products that their customers want to buy. If customers see a product they like and purchase it, money flows directly into the hands of the artisans.
One of the ways SERRV is unique is that we actively look for ways to address the challenges our partners face. In 2010 we launched an innovative new program hosting designers from Indonesia, Vietnam, and Bangladesh at Design Camp 2010. From October 30 through November 7, Komang Adiartha (Mitra Bali), Dinh Thu Huong (Craft LInk), and Thuaiprue Khagendra Tripura (Corr-The Jute Works) visited SERRV’s Madison, Wisconsin, office and Chicago, Illinois, for an intensive design immersion experience, interacting with top-notch designers and being hosted in typical American homes.
“It is very important for me to be here and to see the American culture. We get ideas from Asian culture and this doesn’t always reflect the desires of the actual customer, because it is completely different from what Asians like and expect. Now I have a clear understanding of the American customer and I’m very excited to discuss these ideas with CORR- The Jute Works” said Khagendra at the end of Design Camp.
Inspired from the materials and production methods used by rural artisans in Bangladesh, Khagandra designed a set of beautiful terracotta lanterns that are now featured in SERRV’s Fall 2012 Catalog!