Becky Riess's Thumbprint Gallery Garners Media Attention as the Company Pivots During COVID-19
A recent story in The Jewish News provides a testament to entrepeneurial ingenuity, perseverence and innovation—featuring a client of SCORE of Southeast Michigan:
Buoyed by interest from buyers at the semi-annual NY Now gift show — the largest in the country — the business in 2018 opened a small shop in Detroit’s Eastern Market called Thumbprint Gallery. Now, inspired by the COVID-19 quarantine, the friends have launched a website, thumbprintdetroit.com. “Our goal here at the Thumbprint fulfillment and gallery is to hire women from Detroit who we can train and employ. Now we’re helping women on two continents,” Riess said.
“We are the only gift shop in Detroit that is a member of the Fair Trade Federation,” Riess said. The North American organization stands for the mark of trust bestowed upon businesses and business leaders who are dedicated to fair trade practices.
The support that fair trade provides translates into empowerment and self-sufficiency that helps the artisans care for themselves, their families — and contribute to their communities.
“Being part of the Federation is pretty powerful,” Riess added. “It allows us to communicate with like-minded people. Many parts of the country are more attuned to fair trade. Detroit is very Detroit-centric, which is fabulous. But we are a small segment of the fair trade community.
“We hope people will come in and ask about our products, where they are made, and learn about the people who make them, their cultures, their conditions. Every object is not only beautiful, but meaningful. Every object has a story behind it.”
When Thumbprint Artifacts was launched, the entrepreneurs worked with about 60 artisans. Today, that number has increased to 500 — about 90 percent of whom are women, primarily single mothers who support an extended family.
Becky is a member of one of our local chapter's CEO Roundtables, this one facilitated by Certified Volunteer Mentor Richard Gibbs.
"I'm really proud of all that Becky and her team have been able to accomplish," Gibbs said. "It's extremely gratifying to watch our entrepreneurs innovate, grow their businesses, and see the fruits of their hard labor pay off over time."
Interested in joining one of our CEO Roundtables? Contact our local chapter chair at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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