After moving to a new home, our founder Michelle Cheung found the problem of wanting to decorate her place to tell her own story but not wanting to buy meaningless, colorless décor at big box retailers. Michelle, being Asian American, craved that color connection that she could not find in mainstream American stores.
In a fateful trip to Oaxaca, Mexico, Michelle met artisans laboring long hours weaving textiles who compensated themselves little with the small, local demand. An idea sparked and while unfortunately quarantining from Covid-19, she developed her a small business plan to deliver bright, playful, and global pieces to the American market. As a passionate advocate of ethical sourcing and fair trade, she sought products that not only paid workers fair wages but also are verified for fair labor practices. Moreover, she handpicked suppliers that support sustainable livelihoods for traditionally marginalized communities, such as women and refugees.
At Chells Artisanry, you can purchase meaningful, bright, and beautiful pieces from artisans who are trying to exit poverty, labor exploitation, or economic instability. The artisans originate from countries like Colombia, Uganda, Rwanda, India, Vietnam, where color expresses their culture and community. Here, you can shop unique pieces that reflect your personality and values.
A former sales account executive and nonprofit program director, Michelle combined her business and community development experience to open Chells Artisanry. Every product is ethically sourced and vetted for quality design.
The Trip That Changed Everything
In a trip to Oaxaca, Mexico in 2022, Michelle met artisans who crafted beautiful products but lacked access to an international marketplace to unlock more financial potential for their business. The women she met weaved for long hours enduring backbreaking work but were compensated little. They shared their fear of losing their generational craft if their children decided to pursue a more lucrative career instead. This bothered Michelle. Coincidentally, she also got Covid-19 on her trip and while quarantining in her Airbnb with no where to go, she wrote her first draft for Chells Artisanry.