Here are some questions we are frequently asked.
Please feel free to speak to a member of our team here if you are unable to find an answer for your query. We enjoy each feedback and interest.
What does Artisan & Fox do?
We're an online marketplace offering curated craftsmanship by artisans across the developing world, and we pride ourselves on our focus on ethics, transparency and sustainability.
Different from other artisan-related enterprises, we provide a bespoke approach to bridge artisans in developing countries who are unable to access international markets independently. Our aim is to sustainably raise artisan incomes, by helping their micro-enterprises expand. Our model provides approximately 50% of the gross profits from each sale on the marketplace to the artisans in the interest of fair pricing and transparency.
We also aim to reduce gender inequality in patriarchal communities, preserve cultural heritage and nudge artisans towards more sustainable and eco-friendly production practices — all the while through ethically fashionable pieces that fit contemporary trends. We also engage in social projects to change the norm, from our Threads Of Syria initiative with Syrian refugees to our latest Thrive Transfers Fund to fund women artisans.
How can I know more about the artisan's products?
We include substantial product specifications, materials, size and approximate weight in each product's description. Each product is 100% personally handmade by the artisan or micro-enterprise listed in the product page.
You can also find out where it is made on our Transparency page. If you have any queries, please message us directly and we'd love to help you out!
I know an artisan! How do I refer him/her to you?
We'd love to help new artisans - in expanding their micro-enterprises, exploring new co-created designs, and in providing quality and consistency benchmarking. Please note that we prefer to work with artisans that have no international, or very limited, online presence, as that is where we seek ourselves having the most impact commercially and socially.
How do the artisans benefit from my purchase?
All of our partner artisans from the the developing world receive between 45% to 60% of the estimated gross profits from the sale of each item, before payment remittance fees. The remaining profits are then reinvested into helping new artisans access the global market. These include platform development investments, providing zero interest micro-loan disbursements, 1-to-1 operations support such as opening bank accounts and sourcing new forwarders, and sustainability production programs.
Why are you not a non-profit?
We believe in sustainable solutions out of poverty. And it is precisely that we focus on being self-sustainable, that we do not wish to be reliant on donations or grants, and so we have not chosen to be a charity.
As a for-profit social enterprise that reinvests all profits back into the business, we firmly believe in Muhammad Yunus' definition of a social business. Artisan & Fox provides approx. 50% of the profits from each sale to its maker, and the other 50% is reinvested into supporting more artisans worldwide. Shareholders do not have a conflict of interest, because we do not distribute dividends. Period.
We go beyond what is essential for a business, and we do things that charities will not do. Take for example for fully pro-bono Threads Of Syria initiative with Syrian women refugees, where we covered the entire cost of pilot, production, and all other costs for Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Or our newest Thrive Transfers scheme, which provides zero interest financing for women-led artisan enterprises.
Being a social enterprise also means that we have a greater imperative to keep our operations lean and costs minimal in order to survive in the long-term. We are proud in that we do not seek for donations, and have adopted a for-profit approach to sustainably scale our impact to over 150 artisans worldwide in 7 countries: Afghanistan, Lebanon, Nepal, Kenya, Guatemala, Mexico and Vietnam.
A product I bought some time ago is now more expensive / cheaper. Why?
We assure our partner artisans that they have significant autonomy in setting their prices to reflect fluctuating raw material costs and (seldom changing) shipment costs.
As such, when material prices fall, we will reduce the retail price of the product such that the artisans receive 50% of gross profits. Likewise, when material prices rise, we will need to raise the retail price, so that artisans still receive 50% of the approximate gross profit.
What currency are your products in?
All items are denominated in US Dollars (USD$). Please note that if you are purchasing with a different currency, there may be additional currency conversion fees charged by your bank or payment provider which are not accrued by us.
I want to know more about Artisan & Fox, who can I speak to?
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or use our contact form here. We're also a very global team, since our partners are all over the world. You can visit us in our Singapore offices, reach out to our founder for a coffee in London, join us on a field trip, or meet one of our coordinators in their allocated country of operation!
Shipping, Exchanges and Returns
If I buy a few items at once, can you split up my order into separate boxes?
Unfortunately, we do not offer separate parcels for single orders for logistical purposes. This also helps us to minimize the packaging involved in each purchase.
However, each item are always fitted individually into a separate, beautiful (recycled) cotton pouch. Each craft also comes with a (recycled) paper card detailing its process and the artisan who made it for you. Pass on your re-loved packaging and let it last.
Can you ship to a PO box?
Unfortunately as we use registered tracking for all of our parcels, our couriers are unable to ship and deliver to PO boxes. Signature on delivery is required to ensure safe passage of your purchase.
Which countries do you ship to?
Don't worry, we probably ship to where you are. Artisan & Fox ships internationally to most countries, and certain international orders may also opt for express delivery, subject to an additional fee. Please note that we are currently unable to pay for customs fees on our end.
I have confirmed my order, can I amend or cancel it?
If your order has yet to be shipped out, amendments may be made if you notify our team in time, subjected to a case-by-case basis. For enquiries with regard to your orders, please contact email@example.com. Unfortunately, it is not possible for you to cancel your order once it has been dispatched for delivery.
In the case where you have received a defective item, we will cover the entire costs of replacement or provide a refund for you. Please notify us of any defects within 14 days of you receiving your order.
If you have feedback on your craft, you can also let us know, and we will translate it for the artisans accordingly.
Can I return or exchange an item I purchased on sale?
We do not provide returns or exchanges for our artisans' craftsmanship that were purchased on sale. If you returned an item to us that was purchased on sale, we would not be able to process it.
Why are you providing zero-interest financing?
We realized that many artisans face a dearth of financing, and often, the only way to get credit is through interest-heavy microloan schemes which charge interest rates in excess of 20-40%. Thrive Transfers is our collaboration with Womentum.io to provide zero interest financing for selected women artisans.
Would artisans fall into debt because of your program?
It is unlikely. Our transfers (we hesitate to call them microloans) are zero-interest and have a flexible repayment schedule. Women are also not penalized socially nor financially when they fail to make repayment targets, and instead, are encouraged to grow their micro-enterprise. As such, artisans would not fall into a debt cycle of constantly trying to make interest payments.
How do you ensure the artisans will put the funds to good use?
We only work with selected women artisan partners on our marketplace, and have an initial vetting process conducted by a local organization to provide referencing and a genuine needs assessment. This ensures that the artisans truly have a need for the zero-interest credit, such as requiring maintenance of their equipment, or funds to purchase bulk of raw materials at cheaper prices.
The idea of a 'good use' is subjective, and once the women have identified a need for the funds, it is their discretion to use it for that purpose.
Why do you have a pay-it-forward model?
Once the artisan recipient has repaid their credit, that sum of money is forwarded to another woman artisan within the same community (after a vetting process). Based on Womentum's model, the aim is to build communities of women supporting women. In this case, the first successful artisan entrepreneur can then pass on her learnings to the next women receiving the credit. This pay-it-forward model allows the credit to multiply its impact within a community, financially and socially.
How do I contribute to the Thrive Transfers scheme?
Chances are you are already doing so. A selection of our artisans' products on the marketplace will have an additional 10% of the profits dedicated to the Thrive Transfers Fund to fund women entrepreneurs.
If in particular you wish to fund a specific woman artisan, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we will advise how you can contribute toward her funding request directly. As Artisan & Fox is not a charity, we do not accept donations on artisans' behalf.
Who should I contact for further enquiries?
For general enquiries and order enquiries, you can contact our team at email@example.com. Most queries are replied within 1 business day.