Press Statement on MADE51 at Ambiente 2020

8 February 2020. UNHCR's initiative to drive social inclusion sees refugee-made accessories showcased at the world's largest home goods tradeshow, Ambiente. 

(Frankfurt, Germany) MADE51, the global brand created by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, today debuts a new collection of refugee-made products at Ambiente trade fair. Each MADE51 product sold plays a part in supporting refugees to continue their skilled creative work and contribute to their host country’s economy.

“From the retail perspective, these products are simply incredible. The talent and skill is tangible, but the story that each product carries is really what makes them outstanding. MADE51 has a beautiful line of products and we are incredibly proud and excited to offer them to our customers at Virgin Megastore.”, said Marwan Hert, President at Virgin Megastore MENA.

MADE51 is a mission-driven brand that connects refugee artisans with international markets. MADE51 currently works with 22 local social enterprises in 15 countries. MADE51 offers a range of export-ready products to retailers, including home décor, textiles, lighting, and fashion accessories. By using their valuable skills, traditions and heritage to handcraft unique products, refugees are able to earn an income and achieve financial independence.

“MADE51 represents something totally new to the retail market: a concrete way to offer ethically-minded consumers a chance to act in solidarity with refugees by doing what they already love to do – filling their homes with beautifully crafted products that carry powerful stories.”, said Matt Turnbull, Director at Brand Opus, a Strategic Partner in MADE51.

The worldwide multi-billion artisan sector is expected to grow significantly in coming years due to the growing popularity of handcrafted items. Likewise, the drive to use purchasing power to create social good is increasing amongst consumers in Europe. MADE51 is ideally placed to leverage these two trends for the benefit of thousands of displaced artisans.

The MADE51 exhibition is located in Galleria 0, A 05. UNHCR will also present a panel at Ambiente Academy, from 13:15 to 14:15 on 8 February. The panel will focus on the unique value proposition MADE51 offers to retailers, featuring Heidi Christ, Global Manager of MADE51 at UNHCR, Matt Turnbull, Director at Brand Opus, Marwan Hert, President at Virgin Megastores and Kara Hook, Director at WomenCraft social enterprise.

“We are thrilled to be at Ambiente for the third year running to present refugee-made products to the retail market. We are keen to talk to retailers about sourcing from across our collection or coming on board as Strategic Partners.”, said Heidi Christ, Global MADE51 Manager at UNHCR.

In December 2019, MADE51 launched a first retail partnership with Virgin Megastores in UAE, who committed to supporting the growth of MADE51 by sourcing from the brand and acting as an advocate for MADE51 amongst other businesses and retailers. This partnership is one example of the way in which UNHCR engages with private sector companies through strategic partnership: MADE51 ‘Strategic Partners’ provide support with business development, branding, communications and logistics, offering support to UNHCR by leveraging their core business expertise.

There are currently over 70 million forcibly displaced people around the world.


About MADE51

MADE51 is a global brand created by UNHCR which connects refugee artisans with local social enterprises to design, make and market home decor and accessories across the world. The brand was established to help refugees achieve economic independence by being part of a sustainable value chain. The local social enterprises work directly with refugee artisan groups to develop and produce a line in the MADE51 collection. By 2030, MADE51 aims to have directly helped 300,000 refugees worldwide. MADE51 is supported by an international network of strategic partners which contribute technical skills and expertise to help integrate refugees into the global marketplace.