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What's In A Name

Welcome to our Blog! I'll use this first blog post to tell you a little more about the background and foundation of our business...

Handicraft Soul is a fair trade & artisan marketplace, a small business with a social purpose. Our aim is to empower global artisans by bringing their products to new markets in the U.S. We're a husband + wife team who splits our time between Wisconsin & South Africa. We work with artisans in South Africa to purchase their handmade goods and pay them upfront for their work, which supports employment opportunities. By building relationships and connecting unique products to new customers, we hope to see artisans and their businesses flourish.

Pictured above: A meeting with an artisan group in Mpakeni, South Africa

Before launching our business we spent a lot of time thinking about our company name and logo, as any aspiring entrepreneur does, so I wanted to give some background on the choices we made! 

We wanted the name Handicraft Soul to capture the essence of the handmade goods that we sell; that they are all unique, just like the person who makes them. We wanted to convey this idea that each handmade piece carries a part of the makers soul along with it. There is a lot of time and energy poured into making handmade products, which is why we strive to tell the maker's story along with the end product, celebrating the soul of every piece!

Our logo features an Adinkra symbol originating from the Ashanti people of Ghana in West Africa. It represents affluence, abundance, unity, and togetherness. Ghana holds a special place in my heart. Though my husband and I now spend a lot of time in South Africa (which is where he is from), in 2014 I spent 2 months living in Accra, Ghana, working on a project that assisted local artisans in marketing their goods more effectively. One of the artisans I worked with used traditional Ghanaian beads such as recycled glass beads, brass beads, and trade beads to make stunning, modern jewelry pieces!

The name of the Adinkra symbol we've used in our logo is Bese Saka meaning “Bunch of Cola Nuts”. Cola nuts were a major cash crop in Ghana, before cocoa became the highly sought after crop in trade. The cola nuts in the Adinkra symbol stand for the importance of trade as a means of community building, which still holds true today on a local and global scale. The cola nuts joined together in the symbol also stands for unity in diversity, which we know is extremely important for success in cross-cultural partnerships!


Through our new business venture, we hope to develop meaningful partnerships with artisans on the ground, and create connections to new markets in the USA that will allow artisans to grow their businesses. As our logo symbolizes, we strongly believe that through unity in communities near and far, we can create abundance for all, and forge a way of doing business that makes life better for everyone involved.

Your support means a lot to us, and we look forward to sharing this journey with you!

Ashley Andersen
Co-Founder, Handicraft Soul



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