About Our Work
The word Ibu means “a woman of respect.” The Ibu Movement partners with women around the world disrupting poverty and fashioning change through the art of their hands.
OUR MISSION IS TO EXPAND MARKETS FOR GLOBAL WOMEN ARTISANS, AND HELP BUILD THEIR CAPACITY FOR SUCCESS WITH STRUCTURAL ENHANCEMENTS SUCH AS WORKSPACE AND TRAINING.
Our work focuses on four strategies for change:
Providing a marketplace for women's artisanal goods is our most effective tool for elevating women out of poverty and into a position of sovereignty over their lives. Ibu collaborates with groups to design unique products, celebrating heritage and sustainable techniques of each culture and cooperative—making up about half of our offerings. We also buy directly from artisan groups quality products they have designed, making up the other half.
Strengthening the internal structure of women's artisan groups is a significant contribution to their growth and success.Through capacity-building grants, the Ibu Movement provides necessary resources, such as updated equipment, quality supplies, new and renovated workspaces, and training sessions.
One of the most valuable contributions of the Ibu Movement is dismantling the perception that a product handmade by a woman in the developing world should be cheap (whereas, by contrast, an artisanal craft item made by a man in Europe infers it should be expensive). Telling the stories of our artisan partners in a new way engenders a deep appreciation for the often-overlooked skills handed down by women for generations.
Facilitating authentic relationships between artisans and Ibu allies—through interactive trips, speaking engagements, workshops, and design collaborations with artisan partners—builds connection and respect.
OUR FOUNDER + CEO
Susan Hull Walker founded Ibu in 2014 in Charleston, SC. Prior to creating the social enterprise, Walker studied world religions at Harvard Divinity School and served for eighteen years as a minister in Maine, San Francisco, and Charleston, South Carolina. Returning to school to study fiber arts at Savannah College of Art and Design, she learned to weave and speak in the language of cloth. This opened her eyes to a woman's way of recording her mind and soul. What she didn't find in parchment and page, she found in textiles.
Susan now lives in Charleston, South Carolina, and Santa Fe, New Mexico, traveling frequently to visit artisans, speak about the movement, and spread the Ibu love.
The Ibu Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization governed by a Board of Directors