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Aid to Artisans Preps Iraqi Craft Makers

International micro-economy support organization Aid to Artisans (ATA) has held its first internet-based sales training session, this one with several Iraqi women entrepreneurs, through the U.S. State Department.

Through a virtual conference setup on March 10 and 11, the nine Iraqi women — some of whom work with as many as 100 artisans — learned about product differentiation, pricing, marketing, and other business subjects.

ATA said it already has helped set up sourcing to U.S. retailers including Williams-Sonoma, which offers silk pillows through ATA partner Craftmark, an Indian company.

On its online catalog, ATA currently features home décor products such as indigo table runners from El Salvador, offered at $28, and blockprint tablecloths ($38) and dec pillows ($40) from India.

But the main mission of the charity is helping small-scale crafts makers to organize and gain access to global markets.

To raise awareness and funds, ATA will hold its seventh annual gala on May 14. One of the honorees will be Williams-Sonoma division west elm. The event will be at the Tribeca Rooftop in New York; for information call ATA: Lynn McCary at (212) 629-8748, Alex Kuzma (860) 756-5550, ext. 450 or Roksolana Luchkan (ext. 405).

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