Ginger Shields Intertwined: Handmade for Good
Ginger Shields, left, and Tiffany Vestal, right, co-founders of Intertwined: Handmade for Good. (Credit: Courtesy of Intertwined: Handmade for Good)

Editor’s Note: Intertwined: Handmade for Good has been named to The Story Exchange’s 2023 Holiday Gift Guide.

Ginger Shields wanted to bring the stunning textiles, glassware and ceramics she discovered during her global travels back to American consumers. Two years ago, she began doing so through her e-commerce business, Intertwined: Handmade for Good. Shields works with artisans in Guatemala, Morocco, Uganda, Nepal and India to source handmade bedding, clothing, and other home goods, all of them made in accordance with each region’s passed-down traditions. Today, the Greensboro, North Carolina, entrepreneur is proud to provide financial opportunities to artisans across the globe, while also introducing their wares to a new audience in the United States. 

Here’s our lightly edited Q&A, from The Story Exchange 1,000+ Stories Project.

How is your business different from others in your industry? 

Our commitment to authentic partnership and empowerment. We don’t establish our own factories or workshops in the countries where we work; instead, we establish cooperatives and connect with native-owned workshops. We pay fair prices and shoulder any risk by paying for half of our orders upfront, and the other half upon completion before shipping everything to the U.S. Our approach is to co-create, ensuring that the items we design resonate with American consumers while preserving the rich traditions of the artisans.

Tell us about your biggest success so far. 

We had a pre-launch, in-person party before the e-commerce store went live – and we had a tremendous turnout. Our revenue from that event alone was five times what we expected it to be! And a few weeks ago, we were notified that we are one of five finalists for an Amber Grant, which are awarded to women business owners. Both of these are huge for us. 

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?

Marketing. We have learned so much about Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, while also taking courses and reading as many books on the subject as we can! We are also currently experiencing supply chain issues. Our Moroccan partners have been affected by a recent earthquake, and our Guatemalan partners are currently unable to get or ship anything due to political protests that have effectively shut down transportation and commerce there.

Have you experienced any significant personal situations that have affected your business decisions?

My business partner’s parents have had significant health issues this year, which has affected the time that she can devote to the business.

What is your biggest tip for other startup entrepreneurs? 

It is a lot of work! Make sure you have passion for your business.

How do you find inspiration on your darkest days?

Our artisan partners and organizations provide inspiration to us on our darkest days – and every day.

What is your go-to song to get motivated on tough days? 

“Groove Is in the Heart” by Deee-Lite. 

Who is your most important role model?

Plenty of people have been important role models throughout my life: my parents, my friends, and business leaders in my community. ◼

Instagram: @intertwined.for.good
Facebook: @intertwined

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