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Global Connections - Monday, June 5th!

Monday, June 5, 2023

5:00 pm Refreshments

6:00 pm Panel 1 - Importing and Exporting: Building Global Artisan Networks

6:45 pm Short Break

7:00 pm Panel 2 - Empowering Artisans: Strategies for Ethical and Sustainable Partnerships

Join AIBI and Muuch' Creative in welcoming several outstanding guest speakers to share their experience and wisdom in these conversations on international trade and artisan production.

Panel 1 - Importing and Exporting: Building Global Artisan Networks

A conversation centered on opportunities for importing and exporting products, best practices, and learning about international trade regulations and logistics. The event aims to promote cultural exchange, economic growth, and sustainability in the artisan industry by facilitating the development of global networks and market access for artisans

SORAYA HERNANDEZ is the International Trade Director at the Womens Business Development Center. She has deep cross-industry, multinational/multi-cultural, operational, consumer market intelligence, strategic business consulting, and business/client development experience, running the gamut from helping tenured Fortune 500, middle market, and family-owned businesses to early-stage/emerging startup B2B and B2C enterprises.

MICHELLE KING THOMAS is a writer, activist, and social entrepreneur. She specializes in sales and operations that help social impact brands and social enterprises stay profitable and strategize for revenue growth.

Panel 2 - Empowering Artisans: Strategies for Ethical and Sustainable Partnerships

This discussion explores ways to create ethical and sustainable partnerships with artisans. Experts and leading artisans will share insights on fair trade, transparency, and environmental sustainability, providing valuable knowledge on fostering equitable collaborations and positive impact in the artisan sector.

OTTO RENE ACEITUNO is a guatemalan artisan entrepreneur resident of Colonia la Limonada (one of the largest slums in Latin America).

After his eldest son suffered an accident due to belonging to a gang, Otto founded a handmade shoe factory that gives opportunities to his local community.

La Limonada shoe workshop is where Otto today gives young people at risk and former gang

members the opportunity to have a job and learn the craft of shoe making. Father and son

work together in the family business; this inspirational story has opened connections for Don

Otto to work in alliance with national and international designers, such as The Root Collective

(United States) and Cristha Fuentes (Guatemala).


is the founder of Antalika'a. At Antalika'a, women work within the tradition of embroidery, practicing the cross-stitch technique, also known as "Xoc Bi Chuy." This type of embroidery is characterized by cross stitches used to create shapes, letters, or drawings, allowing them to express their creativity. They also practice machine embroidery, which has been adapted to our traditional shapes and colors following the invention of the sewing machine.

Yucatecan embroidery is a cultural heritage of Mexico and one of the most notable symbols of our identity. This is due, among other things, to its deep pre-Hispanic roots.

Mildre has participated in the Latin American Impact Investing Forum in Guatemala and Mexico. She is a spokesperson for handmade textiles in Mexico.

JACKIE CORLETT is the Founder of Motif Handmade and a designer who loves connecting like-minded designers and buyers with the amazingly talented artisans of Bangladesh – especially hand weavers!

Jackie also enjoys leading design & marketing workshops for fellow artisan based social businesses.

KELLY WEINBERGER founded WorldFinds, after learning about fair trade in Nepal and meeting artisans struggling to find a market for their goods. She decided to put her marketing skills to work and create a space where design-driven styles could create economic opportunities for the women she met.

Today WorldFinds partners with artisans in India, Nepal and Bangladesh and their products can be found in over 1600 retail stores. They continually strive to create social impact with their repurposed textile jewelry, accessories, and gift collections.

NORA S. CARRILLO-BERMEJO is a consultant in creativity and innovation. She has more than 10 years working to develop projects within the wide range of the creative economy in order to improve the welfare of communities in equilibrium with their environment in the southeast of Mexico.

She is the founder of the creative and social enterprise Múuch’ Creative, and she collaborates as a socio-environmental innovation consultant at MakeSense Americas.


Venue Directions and Parking Information

Located at: NEWCITY Lincoln Park

1457 N Halsted St (right next to the AMC Theater)

  • Street parking available on Halsted and Clybourn.

  • Paid self-parking is available on site. Enter the Parking Garage on Schiller Street. There is access from either Halsted St. or Clybourn Ave.

  • Parking validation: $2 for 2 hours in the seven-story parking garage.


The Apparel Industry Board, Inc. (AIBI), is comprised of the major players in Greater Chicago whose careers and business expertise span all facets of the industry including design, manufacturing, merchandising, sales, retail, marketing and finance. AIBI is here to nurture and support designers based in Greater Chicago and is constantly developing new programs to better serve and promote the industry as a whole.

Muuch' Creative is a creative and social enterprise with the mission to harness the power of creativity to tackle global challenges by fostering economic and social development through the promotion and support of creativity and entrepreneurship in artists and artisans. Therefore, we connect artists and artisans with public and private organizations to create commercial opportunities for unique products and services.


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