Run by Rural expands opportunities to Peruvian artisans


Is it the American way of business to promote and enforce a work-life balance? Run by Rural thinks so.

Run by Rural is a social enterprise dedicated to handicraft heritage that provides an education for artisans, using local and natural resources. In addition to selling handicrafts in the global marketplace, Run by Rural’s mission is preserve the traditional culture of the artisans of Asociación de Artesanas Virgen del Pilar, but also keeping a sustainable environmental stance. “By discovering local reliable sources in Northern Peru, we remain committed to our values of environmental sustainability,” said Brooke Vlasich, Product Development and Marketing Fellow at Run by Rural, in an email to HAND/EYE.

For the Innovation Fellowship program, the participants develop techniques to design and market the items created as well as conveying Run by Rural’s message to possible clients and supporters via extensive social media and fundraising campaigns.

In teaching the artisans, the Fellows use market access program for product and economic development (MAPPED), promoting both rural livelihood and lifestyle development with the purpose to minimize the pressure to produce under poor conditions that are commonly found in poverty-stricken artisan communities. “We use education to not only teach the artisans new concepts to stimulate economic independence, but to also provide the artisans with teaching opportunities to other communities,” Vlasich added. And through MAPPED, the Fellows teach the artisans of Asociación de Artesanas Virgen del Pilar about the process to become effective entrepreneurs outside of their communities and region.

This month Run by Rural will exhibit their collection of  hats and clutches—all designed in partnership with the artisans of Asociación de Artesanas Virgen del Pilar—at Artisan Resource®, a section of NY NOW®. The hats and clutches are all handwoven in paja toquilla or palma straw and dyed using natural dyes. For the new clutch and travel cases, traditional and modern fashion styles and aesthetics of nearby cities are a source of inspiration in designing the patterns and colors.

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