Tokyo Fashion Week 2014 Picks

Following a Dream,
Making a Difference


If you could follow your dream job and your passion what would it be? Would you be a fashion editor, a politician or an artist? For Monica and Bryn, best friends and co-founders of Artful Venture, their dream was to travel the world, while experiencing new and different cultures and making a creative change in these communities.

Monica and Bryn decided to follow this unconventional path after college. Turning away from the traditional 9-to-5 job, they bought one-way tickets to South America and began drafting their own business plan: a social enterprise that works with nonprofits, creativity, fashion, art and the communities they visited.

When they arrived in Ecuador they began working with an established nonprofit, Fundación Arte del Mundo. Similar to their own aspirations for their business plan, Arte del Mundo uses art to empower children in Ecuador. The organization promotes literacy and the arts through daily art projects led by volunteers. The girls quickly got involved with Arte del Mundo, creating a video to promote the nonprofit’s mission and worked with the children to create art within the community — creating a wall mosaic.

Monica loved the experience: “I felt like we were making a difference to promote creativity in the community”. One of the projects, creating a beautiful mosaic mural with the children’s artwork, was an amazing experience because it allowed these children to be proud of their art and themselves.

The making of a mosaic:

Monica and Bryn have spent their time in Ecuador volunteering for Arte del Mundo, but it was not until they were walking the streets of Baños, Ecuador that they discovered their future business plan and Artful Venture was born. While exploring Baños, they met a local leatherworker, Condor, whose passion for leatherwork was realized in his beautifully crafted handbags displayed in his tiny shop. Working with leather is a family tradition and is a part of Condor’s identity. He says, “Leatherwork is more than a tradition. It’s a spiritual connection between man and art.”

Monica and Bryn spent the day learning about Condor’s craft, how this family tradition began and learning more about his workshop. Unfortunately, Condor has a difficult time making a living solely on selling his leather goods, and like most craftsmen, he is forced to take up other jobs. It is difficult for rural artists to live off their craft alone. After listening to his story and realizing the hard path he has followed to pursue his family’s tradition, Monica and Byrn decided to start Artful Venture.

This endeavor was born as an opportunity to share Condor’s story, preserve leather craftsmanship, help support his family, and most important, promote the arts. Artful Venture provides the opportunity for unknown artists throughout South America to be discovered. Like Condor, artists around the globe have unique stories to share, and Artful Venture provides the platform to support these artistic passions, while simultaneously spreading cultural appreciation. Each artist offers a unique handicraft that reflects his or her cultural heritage. It brings together a unique group of artists and organizations that have the opportunity to create what they love for a wider audience, helping them grow their business through Artful Venture’s online retail store.

Artful Venture’s mission is to find crafts around the globe that embody the vibrancy and beauty of the people who create them and the traditions they represent, sharing their stories with us. Each month one artist will create one-of-a-kind pieces that will be sold on Artful Venture’s retail site. Each product will directly support the artist and sustain his or her cultural craft. Additionally, each purchase will also support Arte del Mundo — the nonprofit in Ecuador where Monica and Bryn’s story began.

Monica and Bryn are currently working on the website and will be launching Artful Venture very soon! Check out Instagram and Facebook to follow their story around the world.

Coming soon: Condor’s bags, which you can purchase on

But hurry — they will sell out fast!

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When Beauty is More
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