Thumbprint Artifacts was conceived by us, life-long friends Becky Riess and Kris Engle, when we decided it was time for a new chapter.
Michigan born and meeting at the age of 10, our lives were fun and carefree. But once we needed to earn our own way, Becky took the corporate America route while Kris moved overseas following an entrepreneurial lifestyle that took her to the UK, India, and now in South Africa.
In 2012 we were both at a crossroads in our careers and felt it was time to ‘give back’ using the benefits of our joint experiences. We wanted to recognize entrepreneurial spirit by support for fairly traded artisan companies in areas of the world greatly affected by unemployment. This support translates into empowerment and self-sufficiency that helps the artisans care for themselves, their families, and contribute to their communities.
Kris is living in South Africa, a country suffering from high unemployment, approximately 40% in ages between 18 – 35, and Becky resides outside Detroit, Michigan, a city working to reinvent itself after years of downturn - what better places to start!
And so it was, Thumbprint Artifacts was started by offering unique, high quality home decor items that are hand crafted in South Africa, and sold to the US market. As every thumbprint is unique, so are the inspirational artisan products that we provide – each hand crafted item is its own piece of art!
We created our 'cycle of success' by purchasing directly from the artisans, making each item we sell positively impacts employment security and growth to build sustainable and profitable businesses. Most of the artisans are women, primarily single mothers, who all take great pride in their work. Considering the extended families that each artisan supports, Thumbprint Artifacts is currently touching the lives of 500+ people.
Our product lines feature fairly traded items hand crafted and inspired by the beautiful and colorful landscape of South Africa. Additional product lines will follow as our journey continues and we work to source creative and talented artisans where each purchase makes a true difference.
We hope you will take this journey with us and we thank you for your support!
Becky & Kris