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Taos Group Assists Women and Minority Businesses

The biggest challenge for many artisans is learning how to correctly price and effectively market their crafts and artwork. This was certainly the situation for many women and minority artisans in Taos, N.M.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Managing Information with Rural America (MIRA) initiative provided a grant to WESST Corp., the Women’s Economic Self-Sufficiency Team, to assist it in its mission to facilitate the startup and growth of women and minority-owned businesses throughout New Mexico.

The Taos WESST Corp. branch used the grant to develop an e-commerce Web site, www.WesstArtisans.com, and provide marketing training for local artisans. The site was launched in 2000.

Taos-area women and minority artisans continue to benefit from the Web site and business training, says Clare Zurawski, regional manager for WESST Corp’s Taos office. The number of venders listed on the Web site has grown from 10 to 32, says Zurawski. She notes that the program’s focus is to help artisans who have developed their crafts and products, but who need assistance learning how to price and market their products. Only venders who have grossed less than $10,000 on their product line are eligible for the marketing training.

Zurawski describes the 13-week training program as a “crash course” in how to price and market hand-held crafts and artwork. That includes developing media kits, packaging their products, retail basics, selling at trade shows as well as on the Web. 

“The MIRA grant was critical to our success,” says Zurawski. “One we got the site up and the training program going with the grant we were able to attract other grants.”

For additional information, call Clare Zurawski at (505) 758-3099.

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