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The Artisans Haven Women Founders #ChooseToChallenge Inclusivity for Women Artisans in a Challenging Pandemic Environment

The Artisans Haven was founded by two women with the clear objective of supporting Malaysian artisans and small businesses through the challenging
  • The Artisans Haven was founded by two women with the clear objective of supporting Malaysian artisans and small businesses through the challenging times, of which 70% are women
  • The Artisans Haven digital mall features over 120 tenants who are supported with digital marketing and business consulting
  • The Artisans Haven #ChooseToChallenge the obstacles faced by women artisans and small businesses by giving them a platform to showcase their craft and create a marketplace for them

For Jade Lee and Rosalie Lin, the two women founders of The Artisans Haven, the term ‘Handmade is Heartmade’ carries with it an even deeper meaning during the month of March when the world is celebrating International Women’s Day (IWD). This is because The Artisans Haven was founded by both of them with the heart and passion to transform the lives of local artisans and small businesses affected by the recent global pandemic, of whom a majority are women, through the setting up of a digital mall to enable them to have an equal future in this Covid-19 world.

R-L: Jade Lee and Rosalie Lin

Jade Lee, Co-founder of The Artisans Haven which was set up in May 2020 in the midst of the pandemic during the CMCO, had recently retired from AmBank where she held the role of Managing Director, Retail Banking, said, “Upon retirement, I started a blog to share business success stories and tips. That was when I discovered many talented local artisans and small businesses who struggled to market their crafts, which was made more challenging by the pandemic. Together with Rosalie, we #ChooseToChallenge ourselves to use our experience, our network and our skills to create a platform where these local artisans could showcase and market their craft.” The Artisans Haven digital mall started with only 30 online tenants and today has grown to more than 120 tenants, of which 70% are women. These tenants are supported by The Artisans Haven in the areas of digital marketing and business consulting.

Rosalie Lin, Co-founder of The Artisans Haven who is also the CEO of DCR Marketing that runs various e-commerce platforms shared, “I believe totally in this vision of bringing significance to society by supporting local artisans, particularly the women. Through The Artisans Haven, we are able to champion local artisans in making creative and unique products accessible to Malaysians, and supporting the success of their businesses.” Jade and Rosalie met while they were both working at the banks. Today, they collaborate their skills, network and experience to contribute pro bono at The Artisans Haven.

The efforts of these two women and their team are shining through the theme of the 2021 International Women’s Day – being responsible for our own thoughts and actions; choosing to challenge gender bias and inequity; and helping to create an inclusive world. From the onset, both Jade and Rosalie, made it an intentional purpose of the organisation to create an inclusive business environment for their women tenants.

According to SME Corp, women-owned businesses constitute 20.6 per cent of the total 907,065 SMEs in Malaysia.* This is significantly lower than their male counterparts and of this figure, 97.2 per cent of the women are in the services sector.* Lin commented, “Many Malaysian women are very talented and have a strong desire to use their talents to help supplement their family’s income. However, these women entrepreneurs face numerous issues and challenges in the process of initiating and running a business, such as cultural values, household obligations, gender inequality, access to funding and training and many more. At The Artisans Haven, we are honoured to play a small part in encouraging the talents, offer business advice and promote the unique heartmade products made by some of our talented women tenants such as Angeline Teoh and Erna.”

The Artisans Haven leverages on DCR Marketing’s expertise to create, support and sustain a digital commerce platform that boost online presence and allows these passionate entrepreneurs and artisans to tell their stories behind their brands and products. Besides supporting local artisans, The Artisans Haven also promotes #ShopforGood where a portion of sales from the digital mall is channeled to support five selected NGOs namely Beautiful Gate, Community Excel Services (CES), Autistic training, Deaf community and Penan Healing Hands.

“Ultimately, we hope to make a positive impact on these local women artisans and small businesses through The Artisans Haven and rally all Malaysians together to support them in one way or another. We strongly believe that when we buy from them, we are not only supporting them with an income but also giving them hope and inspiration that they too can play a huge role in helping their families,” Lin added.

The Artisans Haven hopes to encourage all Malaysians to #ShopforGood and make every purchase impactful. For more information about The Artisans Haven and to #ShopforGood, please log on to www.artisanshaven.com.my
both, mystorymag