About the Founders
It all started with a business pitch, called the Big Idea, put on by Monica’s college in the spring of 2013. The pitch we had was CreatiVate, a nonprofit empowering children to express themselves through art. After countless late nights preparing the perfect pitch, CreatiVate didn’t make the final cut.
It was then that we truly realized our determination and passion for art empowerment. We weren’t going to let one competition disrupt our dreams of starting a creative movement. What followed this event was one of the most influential year-long experiences of our lives. We packed a backpack and bought a one-way ticket to Ecuador, determined to make this creative idea into a reality.
We began this journey in Banos, Ecuador, volunteering with Fundacion Arte del Mundo, which is a free afterschool program promoting literacy and artistic expression to local youth. It was incredible to watch these kids flowing through the front doors at exactly 3 pm each afternoon, excited to read their favorite children’s book and eager to discover the day’s artistic activity. Ecuador was our home, and inspiration was our guide. Soon enough we found ourselves in a fluid routine. The mornings were spent developing and organizing our ideas, while the afternoons were spent with the children of Arte del Mundo.
One August day in particular is when it all began. We were headed toward the supermarket when something caught Monica’s eye. There was a man sitting on a wooden stool outside a small shop overflowing with beautiful leather bags. We began chatting with this man, and came to know our first artist, Condor. It was this exact conversation that morphed our passion into one entity - Artful Venture.
We found endless inspiration in learning the story behind handmade products and knowing that we could create a missing link between artists and consumers worldwide. The following months were spent developing Artful Venture while continuing our adventure deeper into South America.
Countless hours of work and all of our savings invested in one dream; And that one dream has been a reality ever since. On October 15, 2013, we launched the Artful Venture website in our favorite cafe in Cusco, Peru. Those same initial feelings of shock, fear, and excitement we had experienced when we made the site live, continued for months following when we ran the company out of a backpack.
In the spring of 2014 we decided it was time to take the next step; finding a home base. We returned to the states, and now call San Francisco home. Each day, Artful Venture continues to grow and reach new heights. We are amazed at the amount of support we’ve received from friends, family, and creative people as yourself in turning our dream into a reality.