History of Handmade Expressions
Handmade Expressions has been in operation since 2005. Manish Gupta, our founder, has worked really hard and recruited a wonderful team of people who have helped him make Handmade Expressions a professional, global company. Manish is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Fair Trade Federation of North America, proving once more his commitment to the cause. Here is a brief history of how Handmade Expressions was born and how it has evolved:
Three years ago, Manish Gupta was working for a technology corporation as an Operations Manager in Austin, Texas. He was very successful at his job, and while it enriched his professional life, he felt there was something missing. It was during this time that he first learned of Fair Trade, and decided to make a trip to his homeland in Rajasthan, India. When Manish realized that some people were living on under $1 a day, he decided to make a difference in the world.
He partnered up with several grass-root level NGOs & artisan cooperatives to help them create high quality, hand-crafted goods. He later promoted them in international markets as a means to provide the artisans with economic sustainability and employment. But after a while, he could not keep on doing it alone.
Eventually, he recruited two teams of professionals to help him in his endeavors. One team is based in Austin, Texas, and is comprised of: Ruchi Agrawal (product design), Mark Ostroth (IT and operations), Juan Portillo (marketing and communications), Sunil Pandita (finance), Charlie Fisher and Stephen Marter (shipping and inventory).
The second team is based in India, and is headed by Rashmi Dhariwal. They are in charge of artisan relations, production, quality control, and most importantly: upholding fair trade practices. Handmade Expressions went from being the responsibility of one individual to being a global company.
Handmade Expressions now wholesales their products through their website www.handmadeexpressions.net. We also attend major trade shows, such as the New York International Gift Fair, the San Francisco International Gift Fair, the California Gift Show, and the National Stationery Show, among others. We have been successful in building relationships with fair trade companies, gift shops, large corporations, museums, zoos, US cooperatives, non-profit organizations and internet stores. Our products are found throughout the USA and Canada, and we are proud to be helping the fair trade industry grow.
In addition to our main business operations, Handmade Expressions also participates in fair trade forums and conferences. We educate the local community about fair trade and keep a blog with fair trade information. Finally, we support development projects involving education, health care and energy needs in India.
Manish Gupta has come a long way from having a dream to making it come true. He and his team are always looking for new ways to help the industry and the movement grow.