ARTCAMP November 2002
What is this document? After an initial meeting, the Thunderbird team made a list of questions to discuss with Artcamp.
1) Thunderbird Team involvement
a) How can the Thunderbird team assist Artcamp?
By helping elaborate a perfected Plan
for the Artisan-Owned Distribution Model.
b) What is the scope of work for the Thunderbird team?
Organizing presentation of a polished document for purpose of winning funding for implementation of Artcamps AODD Model Project.
If the time and resources are available on parts of team members;
we can go beyond only preparing the AODD document submission,
and begin to implement plans to strengthen this cooperative.
The following questions were written to help the Thunderbird team better understand Artcamp and the scope of work.
2) Wholesaler & Distributers
a) Who are the distributors?
Look Wholesale Glendale AZ
Groovies Ontario Canada
Fair Trade Organizatie Holand
Alternativa 3 Spain
Helbies Import New Jersey
Driftstone Pueblo Illinois
Pacific Rim Arts Vancouver Canada
Rick Shop Missouri
Tesoros Trading Co. Austin Texas
b) How do they know about Artcamp?
We met them over the years at Trade Shows, or in Taxco, or via Internet.
c) What import taxes do they pay?
Our class of goods (7117.19) are duty free under NAFTA.
d) What are other technical, packaging requirements?
Certificate of Origen, Packing List.
Some customers require Point-of-Purchase packaging and/or Bar Codes
a) Who are the retailers?
Fair Trade stores, Dealers, prospects generated by Artcamp website
b) How do they know about Artcamp?
Outbound telemarketing and email, Search Engines, Word of Mouth
4) Substitute / Competitor Products
a) Is Artcamp’s art different than other Latin American / Mexican art?
As a result of more than a decade of concentrated work,
We have developed a product that is completely unique
and can be readily recognized as such by a common consumer.
A combination of specific technology and specialized hand labor means there exist significant barriers to copying our products.
b) Do customer’s perceive a difference in the type of art?
The final retail customer? Artcamp’s is a high-quality low-cost product designed to sell to public for between $3usd to 9usd$.
Artcamp has many different lines adapted to different Distributors.
a) Why do people purchase Mexican or indigenous art?
Final Customers? There exists genuine interest in the idea of our rural womens artisans cooperative. Prospects sometimes seem
To want to support our efforts as much as they want our products,
But the common case is that our jewelry is bought and sold as a commercial item on the basis of its price and market interface.
b) How do they know about Artcamp?
Final Customers? To the “Fair Trade” Retailers we often supply gift cards that explain about our community and social mission.
Distributor Customers? We have been around a long time and know
many distributors also Taxco is a major .925 silver export town.
c) What are Artcamp’s customer service guarantees
Ordinarily we guarantee everything for quality;
This has never been a problem
as we hold consistent high quality standard
d) Alternative sales channels: local sales, tourists visiting during fierias
We want to develop the Mexico market but we have been pinned down forever trying to keep up with commitments to Distributors which
are marginally profitable it is what has kept Artcamp in business
7) Artcamp’s Manufacturing Process
a) Is it demand based manufacturing, or build to inventory and then try to sell?
Demand based. We hold little inventory; mostly only over run stock
b) What is the Quality Assurance process?
We have always emphasized quality even though we sell at a cheap price. We NEVER have legitimate quality complaints come back at us
c) What is the capacity?
We are cottage-industry based and so our production capacity is enormous. In the 1980s Tecalpulco was the font of the alpaca abalone shell jewelry that became popular everywhere in the world.
At its height, there were something like ten thousand families employed in its production. In 2002 we produced 2000-3000 pieces a week; we would be much more comfortable producing 5000 pieces/week.
We would like to be producing 50,000 pieces a week in year or more.
d) What are lead times, production cycle?
Ordinarily 3-4 weeks when coordinating various separate orders.
a) What are Artcamp supplies?
Pewter Metal, Resins, Shell, Casting Supplies, Sandpaper etc.
b) Who are the suppliers?
Conquest for Casting Alloy,Metales Avilez in Taxco, for materials.
c) Is Artcamp’s able to dictate prices and terms to suppliers?
9) Community Involvement
a) What relationship exists with the community?
Our cooperative represents Tecalpulco in an effort to reestablish the once-successful cottage industry handcrafts business.
In 2002 We secured a donation of opthalmic equipment for local Public Hospital Adolfo Prieto http://artcamp.com.mx/HO/2.html
We are working with the Tecalpulco water committee
to help develop sources of clean water for the community. http://artcamp.com.mx/TEC/toc_water.html
b) What relationships exist with local government?
10) Sales Process
a) Does Artcamp partner with marketplace websites?
We have a great ally in Gary Bond of globalmarketplace.org
who is helping us set up a Yahoo site complete with Merchants Credit Card account. Otherwise we have not developed these relationships.
b) What is Artcamp sales through the Internet versus alternate avenues?
Most of the sales that support our enterprise are to Distributors
who do not rely on the internet. Most of our established customers
do NOT use our Website at all, although the CDROM version of Artcamp’s Catalog of Products seems to be useful to some accounts.
c) How is the direct distribution model different than the existing Internet marketplaces?
Only in sense that we need to combine many shipments into one for purpose of export/import;
In order to overcome the onerous shipping and export charges imposed on the Mexican producer by the NAFTA system.
d) Concern: Internet marketplaces are great for buyers, but can make suppliers a commodity unless Artcamp is able to differentiate itself. How does Artcamp differentiate itself?
1. rural womens artisans cooperative
with social mission
2. unique and distinctive product
3. Artcamp’s Romantic Novels featuring Mexican village women as new fresh fashion icon
4. The revolutionary CDROM language-learning course we are in the process of developing
11) Cost Structure (where is the most value earned?)
a) What is the supplier costs / profit 30%?
b) What is Artcamp’s costs / profit? 0%
c) What is Distributor costs / profit? 250%
d) What is Retailer costs / profit? 250%
Our business is almost more of a miracle of sustained effort
than it is a profitable business. We pay ourselves very poorly
have no health benefits no days off no vacations and no security.
Our success model is the alpaca abalone jewelry industry generated by our village in the 1980s also the .925 silver jewelry business
Of Taxco in the 1990s. Both of these industries valued in the tens
Or hundreds of millions of usd$annually. We believe that now,
especially in the new Depression economics, our high-quality low cost fashion jewelry products could reproduce these two successes.