In episode 121, Kestrel welcomes Rebecca van Bergen, the founder and executive director of Nest, to the show. A nonprofit that is building a new handworker economy, Nest is dedicated to generating global workforce inclusivity, improving women's wellbeing beyond factories, and preserving cultural traditions.

"Most consumers are completely unaware of this, but production is leaving the 4 wall factory. Anywhere between 20-60% of current garment manufacturing leaves the factory at some point, whether it's sewing a sole on a shoe or doing embroidery or finish work - to homeworkers that were completely invisible." 
-Rebecca van Bergen, founder + executive director of Nest


In this episode, Rebecca shares more on her journey, and how she originally came to the craft sector from a social work lens, with an interest in helping women around the world. Craft is the second largest employer of women in emerging markets, and for Rebecca - handmade needs to be more accessible to businesses and customers.

Additionally, Rebecca talks in more detail about how she believes the lack of programming and investment in global craft is aligned with the fact that the majority of the sector is female-dominated.

Considering that 20-60% of current garment manufacturing leaves the 4 walls of the factory at some point today, Nest has helped build The Nest Standards for Homes and Small Workshops + Nest Seal of Ethical Handcraft. Rebecca breaks down in more detail what their standards look like and the ways in which they approach transparency and compliance. 

At Nest, they not only help connect brands to their artisan partner network, they also connect aligned professionals with artisan partners, to offer them pro bono consulting on building their businesses.

The below thoughts, ideas + organizations were brought up in this chat:

  • Mohammed Yunus, 2006 Nobel Peace Prize
  • Craft is the second largest employer of women globally.
  • Nest Artisan Guild, an open access network for artisan businesses including over 400 businesses from over 70 countries
  • "You know I think some people were like, 'focus in on one country - like get really good at India,' and it turns out, the similarities between craft businesses in India, it's not the location that matters - it's where they are in the stage of development."
  • Professional Fellowship Program, where Nest matches professionals with artisan businesses to do pro bono consulting
  • "Transparency isn't a program - that's a precursor to programs in our opinion."
  • The Nest Standards for Homes and Small Workshops + Nest Seal of Ethical Handcraft work together to ensure industry-wide transparency and compliance for production is taking place beyond the factory.

Thanks for listening! Subscribe, download, and leave a review for Conscious Chatter on iTunes if you get a chance. I big time appreciate your support! <3 Kestrel