VIP Profile: Jacqueline Ann Ross

VIP Profile: Jacqueline Ann Ross

Azerbaijan, June 2005

Contributing to the Economic Development of Local Artisans

To support low income artisans while preserving their cultural heritage, The Crafts Center at CHF International contributes to economic development through field programs and coordination of international networks. In doing so, CHF offers technical assistance, training in the development, marketing and sale of crafts.

In Fuzuli, the western region of Azerbaijan, many artisans—mainly women—have been displaced from their homes. These women make a very low monthly income. Through the Crafts Center at CHF’s business training, residents of Azerbaijan have been able to create and market their quality handicrafts to earn additional income.

As a Visiting International Professional (VIP™) for CHF, Jacqueline Ann Ross provided several workshops to share her extensive knowledge in creating and teaching textile handicrafts to artisans of Fuzuli, Azerbaijan. Jacqueline had experience analyzing, problem solving, and researching customer’s needs in the market economies of London and Bangladesh.

In one workshop, Jacqueline reviewed importance of product design and development, identifying customers and what they may want to buy, refining products, identify places to renew creativity and analyzing sale histories. As for the second workshop, they discussed competitor and customer pricing, export procedures, identified characteristics that add value, and how to incorporate color schemes           
into their products.

In these workshops, she provided an array of marketing ideas. The trainings provided a forum for Jacqueline to review the various designs the artisans were creating and offer critiques so they could refine their products.

Jacqueline recognized that numerous barriers still exist for the women. She said, “I learned a lot about the problems and difficulties they face… and was able to offer some positive suggestions.”  Despite the barriers, the trained artisans have at least begun their journey of strengthening the value of their products and maintaining their cultural heritage from the support of CHF.