PBP Insights

Creative Manufacturing and Handmade: A Sector Whose Time Has Come

We spent a year gathering novel data of the Handmade Sector across the world in partnership with the MasterCard Foundation
Creative Manufacturing and Handmade: A Sector Whose Time Has Come

“IKEA has ambitions to scale its social business partnerships in the coming years so that more consumers can enjoy these unique handcrafted products with strong stories, as well as to build a more inclusive supply chain delivering for our very strong sustainability agenda. This would create impact & momentum on our total business and inspire other like-minded retailers to make similar moves. That’s what I call impact!”

- Vaishali Misra, Business Leader,
IKEA Social Entrepreneur Initiative

"In the fight for human rights, one of the basics is a fair wage for labor. American consumers need to realize that ‘handmade’ doesn't equally ‘fairly paid’ and look more closely at the certifications and practices of the companies they buy from. The upside is that a ‘fairly paid, well made’ product from companies like The Citizenry lasts much longer, which has value for the consumer and the environment."

- Rachel Bentley, Co-founder, The Citizenry

Four continents. 191 enterprises. 35,000 people.

Powered by People teamed up with the Mastercard Foundation to highlight the enormous potential of the global Creative Manufacturing and Handmade (CMH) sector. The aim of the study was to shed light on how the sector can grow its businesses, the principal barriers the industry faces, and the solutions that PBP can provide to this ever growing and important market.

The survey was produced with several partners who all share the same goal: to bring to the mainstream the talent and creativity of millions of artisan entrepreneurs worldwide. The CMH sector is the second largest employer (after agriculture) in developing countries, but it’s the least funded. Its top five reported challenges are access to finance (60%), access to markets (59%), social media marketing (37%), merchandizing (36%) and marketing material (34%).

Sector Growth

There is 20% Growth in the handmade sector

Sector Size

Despite these challenges, we know the world of retail is changing. Consumers are increasingly demanding unique product selections, sustainability and transparency. Which is good for CMH. Yet buyers still lack the ability to access the skilled producers to fulfill this need. This is where PBP steps in. By creating a dynamic online platform, it seamlessly connects buyers with makers. It supplies each with market access, digital tools and financing solutions. PBP empowers CMH artisans and accelerates the way towards business growth.


The potential for revenue and job creation, both globally and in low-income communities, is still relatively untapped, and the sector is ripe for partnerships and investment. Women make up 76 percent of the sector as business leaders, while youth represent 64 percent, and 62 percent overall live in rural communities. The CMH sector is currently valued at more than $500 billion, and is expected to grow by 20 percent annually. Together, we can build a more inclusive economy and bring to the mainstream a sector whose time has come.

To learn more, read the full report here.

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