Mali Chic from Mali
is the artisan in the spotlight this week
Mali Chic was founded by an American woman named Elaine Bellezza who trained employees in craft production and business practices for a number of years before she decided that it was time to leave Mali. Before departing, she decided to leave the company to her employees and rather than taking money for the shop, Elaine only asked her employees to promise to keep the shop going. Today, Mali Chic continues as a successful business that sells its wares internationally. Many of Mali Chic's artisans are trained on craft production in Bamako and given the opportunity to work in the workshop or from their own home. Employees are included in the decision making process during regular meetings where they discuss production, management and payment issues. Since Mali Chic began selling internationally, they've brought a lot of change and development to their community. Now that they have the means to employee more people, more money cycles back into the community, ensuring that children are well-fed, that they have the opportunity for an education, and that there is better health-care for all.
Artisan Moussa Coulibaly
Before finding work with Mali Chic, Moussa Coulibaly lived in a small village where he farmed with his father and mother. In an effort to find some sort of income after the rainy season had passed, Moussa would travel to the city of Bamako so the family could support themselves until the next fertile season. On one such journey, Moussa happened upon a great opportunity. While walking the streets of the city trying to sell his wooden baskets, Mali Chic's former owner drove by, stopped, and struck up a conversation with Moussa. Moussa was offered a job with Mali Chic and was trained in design and production of copper wire baskets. With Mali Chic, Moussa has found stability, opportunity, and a reliable income producing copper wire materials.