Craft Village UK, an organization coordinating and promoting fair trade directly with artisans in poor countries, is currently marketing a series of Simpsons Statues to benefit a Kenyan village. Craft Village’s mission is to improve the working and living conditions of crafts people and their families, and promote fair wages and job creation via their exclusive, sustainable, copyright protected product lines.
Craft Village launched the Kenyan Simpsons Statues in February 2009 after 3 years of development. Their unique mix of Fair Trade and animation-art has received great reviews from CNN, The BBC, The United Nations Development Programme, Sir Bob Geldof, and Matt Groening, creator of the Simpsons.
The debut range comes in boxed in eco-friendly bespoke packaging with the Simpsons artwork, and a 12-page educational booklet showing who makes the Simpsons statues, how they are made, where, and who benefits from the income generated.
The Simpsons statues have strong appeal to two specific markets; the growing Fair Trade market and the massive Simpsons’ collector’s market. A major U.S. collectibles distributor, Sideshow Collectibles, recently launched the range of Simpsons statues in the U.S. In addition, Craft Village has also signed a distribution deal with a WFTO accredited company in The Netherlands, who are growing sales in Holland and other European countries.
Developing and launching such a unique project has been a challenge, with many obstacles and false starts along the way. Challenges Craft Village had to overcome included product development problems, achieving an official merchandising license, and developing bespoke packaging. Craft Village now provides the Simpsons statues producers with safety equipment, boots, gloves masks, and an agreed-upon profit–share scheme with the artisans so that as the business grows, additional income and profit will be distributed fairly between all parties, and a fund will be created to benefit various local initiatives.
Craft Village’s unique product concept is transferable to many animation and film properties. Craft Village intends to expand their animation artwork to other popular shows, and is currently in negotiations with other studios to expand their offerings.
The high quality Simpsons animation art is having a positive impact on many families in rural Kenya. It is Craft Village’s goal to become a genuine innovator within the fair trade and animation-art industries and attract a new audience to the Fair Trade movement with contemporary cartoon-inspired statues.
Paul Young is the founder of Craft Village UK.