Hedvig Alexander is founder of Far & Wide Collective , an online marketplace that sells fair trade goods made by artisans in developing countries, to the international market. It sells a range of products from home décor to fashion accessories, and works in countries including Afghanistan, Kenya, and Pakistan, to name a few.
To understand how this innovative and creative company came to be, it is helpful to know Hedvig’s background which is as unique and inspiring as is Far & Wide Collective! Hedvig is originally from Denmark, where after graduating high school she served in the Danish army. She worked in the Republic of Georgia as a UN Military Observer, received her Masters degree in International Relations at Yale University, and then proceeded to work in development in Kabul, Afghanistan for seven years.
In Kabul, Hedvig helped set up and run an NGO (non-governmental organization) called Turquoise Mountain, which sparked her interest in artisans and crafts. Turquoise Mountain revived Afghan arts, crafts and architecture by starting four schools, which train a new generation of young Afghans in architectural woodwork, jewelry, ceramics and calligraphy.
Once she arrived in Canada, Hedvig wanted to take what she had learned and continue helping people in Afghanistan and other countries around the world. Thus, Far & Wide Collective was born, with the ambition of lifting a new segment of producers and artisans – who have had no access to the international market – into the global economy.
To further highlight Far & Wide Collective’s commitment to artisans, the Artisan Toolkit was launched in April 2015. It is a crafts business manual with the goal of helping artisans both develop and grow their crafts businesses. It has two levels: level one for artisans looking to start a business, and level two for artisans looking to grow their business. It also has audio and visual aids for those with low levels of literacy. www.artisantoolkit.af.
Watch Hedvig’s Interview on WhatSheSaid!
Learn more Far and Wide Collective