Ready to travel the world, one aisle at a time? Accompany Us to Target, where our new collaboration lifts local artistry to the global stage in a new kind of modern artisan market.
“Today people are more culturally connected than ever, which creates a desire for aesthetics from every corner of the world,” says Julie Guggemos, Target’s senior vice president of Product Design & Development. “Target’s Product Design & Development team has the unique opportunity to travel the globe, get first-hand inspiration and create authentic products for our guests.”
The collection focuses on six different countries, highlighting the unique traditional techniques that cultures have passed through generations. From Ecuadorian beaded bangles to wooden Kuni bowls from Kenya to block printed cosmetic bags made in India, each piece hits our target of celebrating crafted communities all over the world.
“Accompany’s mission is to build income-generating opportunities for local people across the developing world,” says our founder, Jason Keehn. “Traditional crafts and indigenous methods for creating products are being lost every day, and we aim to support the livelihood and communities of these craftspeople by connecting their goods with a wide consumer base. Through our partnership with Target, we’re able to shine a spotlight on the communities creating these goods and help them continue their traditions, now and in the future.”
In our role as modern curators and storytellers, we work with our partners to find the sweet spot between updating goods to current needs and maintaining the cultural authenticity that takes them from things to treasures. After all, who said modern design can’t be made meaningful?
"Accompany’s mission is to build income-generating opportunities for local people across the developing world"
—Jason Keehn, Accompany Founder
But sourcing these collections isn’t easy—Accompany is dedicated to maintaining fair trade practices that actively reverse the injustices created by profit-driven supply chains. We know that working with these artisans and prioritizing their working conditions, pay, and overall quality of life supports more than just the beauty of their craft.
In Ecuador, craftspeople often feel overlooked and unappreciated. “Especially in the cities, there’s a bit of rejection because of being indigenous, and they don’t believe you can accomplish big things,” one of our makers explained. “But I tell myself, I am what I am, I have to appreciate what I am, the way I dress, and everything, especially my language.”
In Kenya, these partnerships also give makers something else to pass down through generations: pride. “Kenya is all about colors. We take the money that we get from the job and use it to teach our children. I want to take what I’ve done throughout my life—that same education, those same values—and instill it in my children, and identify them even more with our culture so those values can last many more years.
Spotlighting these pieces also helps us celebrate the natural beauty of these countries. “It’s important to take advantage of the nature we have around us,” said our same Ecuadorian maker. “It’s nice to use natural materials like tagua—it’s an incredibly organic, natural material, not affected too much by the environment, very durable. And also the acai, the archiras that come from the native plants from the Amazon, and the wooden beads that come from the coast as well. It’s exciting to know that it was made here in Ecuador, that they’re made with natural products given to us by Pachamama, and that they’re made by Otavalo, Ecuador women.”
In creating this collection, we also worked closely with Target’s partners at Nest, an NGO advocate for global artisans and homeworkers, to make sure the best social compliance practices were in place across the board. Part of our mission is to empower everyone to wear the world, and their values—and this collaboration makes it happen.
“I can do a lot and just create with my hands,” said one of our Kenyan artisans. “I want my business to grow much, much bigger to be able to employ more people to help in production. The people that buy our products—we’ve never met them, they’ve never met us, but our products are being worn out there. It feels good.”
Shop the full 45 product collection online at target.com and in person at 12 locations in key markets and give a whole new meaning to feeling good about your style.