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Empowering Women Artisans from Afghanistan and Myanmar with the Parsons School of Design and

Turquoise Mountain

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Strategic Marketing for Jewellery and Woven Accessories made by women artisans in Afghanistan and Myanmar 


How can we establish a greater market presence for Afghan and Burmese jewellery and woven accessories in the United States, in order to generate sales and contribute to the continued support and income of artisans? How would this look in a traditional retail setting as well as online?

This year, WFI is curating a partnership between Turquoise Mountain and the Parsons School of Design to channel the power of both institutions towards uplifting the lives of women artisans in Afghanistan and Mynmar. Together we will ensure fair wages, learning opportunities, and new marketing advancements for women entrepreneurs and artisans in these countries.


Elements of the project may include:

-       Market segmentation

-       Social values and sustainability

-       Competitive analysis

-       Product positioning

-       Marketing and messaging strategies

-       Storytelling


Turquoise Mountain’s mission is to bring positive social impact through heritage and revitalization of traditional craftsmanship, creating jobs, skills and a renewed sense of pride for artisans and their communities. With nearly two decades of experience in supporting artisans to develop their products and bring craftsmanship to international markets, Turquoise Mountain has a track record of creating sustainable incomes for artisans in Afghanistan, Myanmar, and across Middle East. To complement our artisan training and support artisans’ families, we also provide a holistic programme of community support, including healthcare and education.


Building markets for heritage jewellery and woven accessories forms a core part of Turquoise Mountain’s work in supporting women artisans in both Afghanistan and Burma, areas affected by conflict and significant social challenge. For each community, the jewellery and fabrics and their styles and patterns hold special cultural significance, and tell a story of generations of design inspiration and innovation. The range of techniques and materials – from fine gold work, to vermeil jewellery and carved gemstones, from silk fashion accessories and heritage fabric homewares – echo the diversity of both Afghan and Burmese heritage and communities.  Over the last fifteen years, Turquoise Mountain has developed a trusted network for jewellers, weavers, and designers in Afghanistan, and has more recently established over the last five years support for women artisans in Myanmar. Turquoise Mountain staff work alongside master women artisans and their apprentices to create pilot ranges and products for international buyers. We are poised to bring new ranges, in their final stages of development, of jewellery and woven accessories products to consumers in the United States.  


For this project, teams of students from the Strategic Design and Management BBA program at Parsons School of Design will research and develop a detailed understanding of the heritage and production context, and build a strategic marketing approach that identifies areas for further product development, with viable and meaningful positioning, pricing, promotion, and routes to market and sales for Turquoise Mountain products.


With the courses focus on branding, product and service development, innovation, law, finance, ethics, value alignment and sustainability, there are multiple touch points with Turquoise Mountain’s work. 


The project could support individual women artisans and businesses in market alignment, continuing production and accessing clients and customers - ultimately enabling for their heritage, designs, technical skills and craftsmanship to be appreciated and valued around the world. 




Turquoise Mountain Products:


Turquoise Mountain Sustainability Principles:

*available on request

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WFI thanks the Roy Hunt Foundation for its generous support for this program

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