From 9-13 February 2018, for the first time ever, a collection of refugee-made products were on display at Ambiente Trade Show, the world’s largest consumer goods show, through MADE51, UNHCR’s new collaborative initiative to offer market access to refugee artisans.
12 export-ready and 10 coming soon product lines were featured.
Over 5 days, the MADE51 team introduced the collection to buyers and visitors and shared the stories around MADE51 – the refugee artisans crafting, the design, heritage, and skills utilized the local social enterprises (LSEs) supporting refugee artisans and UNHCR’s convening role in MADE51. Buyers and visitors expressed how amazed and impressed they were – by the design and quality of the products, the tremendous skills of refugees, and the MADE51 concept.
The level of buyer and visitor interest exceeded expectations.
There was an overwhelmingly positive response from buyers, many of whom would like to engage and source from the MADE51 collection Buyers visited the stand to ask questions and gather product information. First trial orders were even received at the fair. Follow-up with over 200 serious business contacts is ongoing; buyers are being put in touch with LSE partners for order negotiations, placement, and fulfillment. All of the 500 MADE51 newspapers were handed out within the first days, which reflects great interest in this new initiative.
MADE51 participation at Ambiente was made possible by UNHCR field colleagues, LSE partners, and MADE51 partners: Messe Frankfurt, Brokkr, the Danish Government, BPRM/Safe from the Start, The World Fair Trade Organization, CBI Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Zettler, Herbert Smith Freehills, Artisan Alliance, and IKEA Germany.
UNHCR appreciates the commitment and technical skills that all Strategic Partners offer to MADE51 in order to connect refugee artisans with global markets and integrate them into sustainable value chains.