My name is Rikki Quintana. My Fair Trade import business is called HoonArts Fair Trade. “HoonArts” is the fusion of the Tajik/Persian word for “craft” and the English word “arts.” We offer extraordinary, hand-crafted clothing, home décor, gifts and accessories from Central Asia for the true lover of world cultures. As a Fair Trade business, developing community and empowering impoverished artisans to build a brighter future are central to our mission. Our dream is to build a sustainable US market for these unique treasurers so that our artisans can look forward to a future beyond daily survival. I invite you explore and shop our unique collection of Central Asian treasurers at our online store. In addition to retail sales, we are happy to accept wholesale orders.
When I retired from practicing law in late 2011, I wanted to return to the world that had always spoken to my heart–the world of building international connections. I volunteered with a local Albuquerque organization that hosted short-term professional exchange delegations from around the world. We hosted our first delegation from Tajikistan in late 2013. We were so inspired by this group young professionals who were so passionate about making a difference back home that my colleague and I founded our own nonprofit organization, Bridges to Tajikistan, to help them.
In November 2014, we hosted another delegation from Tajikistan. One of the members of that delegation was Bakhriddin Isamutdinov, who works in eco-tourism and handicraft promotion. We learned that no one was working with the artisans of Tajikistan to build a US market for their work. By the end of the week, I decided that someone had to take a leap of faith, and that someone was me.
I founded HoonArts Fair Trade in November 2014, received my first handicraft products from Tajikistan in late November 2014, and the rest is history. Since 2014, I have been working to acquaint the US market with the artistic traditions, history and culture of Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. In addition to our online store, we do local shows, events and presentations in New Mexico. “Show and tell” is my favorite part of the business. In 2017, we look forward to moving beyond New Mexico and exhibiting at national events, probably the Houston International Quilt Festival and the Las Vegas Trade Show.
I work directly with the small artisan groups that produce our remarkable products, so we can offer prices that avoid the mark-ups of middlemen in the traditional supply chain. Our textile designers are all recognized master artisans in their home countries, have participated in international exhibitions in Europe and Asia, and have received various awards for their work, including the UNESCO Award of Excellence for Craft. Several have participated in the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market.
Life for our artisans, many of whom are impoverished women in rural mountain villages, is a daily struggle. Success in the US market will transform the future for these artisans, their families and their communities. That is why HoonArts Fair Trade exists. And it is my fervent hope that by connecting people in the US with these amazing artisans and their Silk Road culture and history, we can make a small contribution to building a more peaceful, prosperous world for all of us.