Today we’d like to introduce you to Devik Wyman.
Devik, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
The idea for Mango Tree Artisans grew out of a trip to Guatemala in 2001, where I was enchanted by the intricate weavings and embroideries made by the Mayan women. I decided to open a shop to share this beauty with Americans. My first shop was in Bellows Falls, Vermont, and then eleven years ago, my husband, Tim, and I opened Mango Tree Artisans in Sudbury.
We now carry ethically sourced, artisan-made jewelry and gifts from more than 30 countries, and I continue to travel to my beloved Guatemala and Mexico. I select jewelry, folk art, purses, ceramics, and lots more, from artisans I know and in crowded local markets full of colors and activity.
As I visited women’s weaving co-ops in Guatemala. I learned about Fair Trade– a business model that involves not only fair pay, but respect for indigenous traditions and a commitment to the environment. Fair Trade products are made of sustainable or recycled materials and produced in safe, healthy working conditions. Fair Trade wages allow the artisans’ families to have nutritious food, afford medical care, and send their kids to school.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Bookkeeping, and organizing the office are where my road is bumpy. It’s an ongoing struggle for me — just ask my husband! Luckily, I have a good accountant and a tolerant husband.
Other aspects of the business are so much more fun! Travelling and meeting artisans is a special treat. Attending the big market in NYC twice a year is exhilarating– chatting with other business people and seeing all the new products. I love making the store look inviting and helping customers find what they want. And, I love being my own boss, and working with my husband and our wonderful part time staff.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Mango Tree Artisans – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
A comment we hear often is, “I always come to Mango Tree first, because I know I’ll find something that’s unusual and just right,” We carry artisan jewelry and gifts in a variety of styles and price points. For one customer, a simple sterling silver earring; for another, an elegant hand printed silk scarf, or a Zuni sterling bracelet, inlaid with semiprecious stones in a geometric design.
We’re proud that the only complaint we ever get is, “It’s too hard to choose! There are so many beautiful things!” You’ll find a constantly changing, curated collection of museum-quality treasures. We’re especially known for jewelry and scarves. Our jewelry is made from sterling silver, gold fill, semi-precious stones, pewter, crystal, tagua (a tropical seed sometimes called “vegetable ivory”), or other sustainable materials. Our scarves are natural fibers– silk, wool, cotton, and modal, woven by hand or by small producers.
Hand-painted Le Souk ceramics, vases and bowls from Asia, wooden salad bowls, collectible boxes, holiday ornaments and candles, knitted hats and wrist warmers, folk art from Latin America, chimes and singing bowls from India and Nepal fill our shelves.
Recently, I’ve started leading tours to Mexico and Guatemala. Small groups travel with me to meet artisans in their home workshops, and visit women’s co-ops to learn about how fair trade helps their families. We enjoy a variety of other activities that may include cooking lessons, a Mayan ceremony, touring an archaeological site with a local guide, sampling gourmet restaurants, and exploring local markets.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
When I was a child, I asked my parents what was the purpose of life. My dad said it was to be happy. My mom said it was to help others. In the perfect synthesis, I now realize that happiness can come from helping others. Mango Tree Artisans exists to help artisans in the developing world and to help our friends and neighbors in Metro West find and share beauty in their lives.
Artisans tell us that Fair Trade makes a difference in their lives. And we know that we are helping our customers because they tell us so, and they return over and over. They tell us that they appreciate the exquisite craftsmanship in our carefully chosen pieces and they enjoy hearing the stories of those pieces. They bring friends and relatives to show them the shop and relax in our comfortable, unpressured setting. I’m enjoying getting to know customers and watching the store grow. As long as it makes me happy I’ll continue.
- Token gifts say “I’m thinking of you”– we have cards and gifts under $12
- Gifts for holidays, birthdays, weddings, hostess– most of our gifts are $20 to $200
- Special finds– like fragile cups lined with gold leaf ($75 each) or an intricately patterned elephant ($900)
- Address: 410 Boston Post Rd.
The Rugged Bear Plaza
Sudbury, MA 01776
- Website: www.mangotreeartisans.com
- Phone: 978-443-6122
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/MangoTreeArtisans/