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Helping Artisans Thrive

One entrepreneur turned his desire for cultural preservation into a booming business.

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By JJ Ramberg

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Traveling through his native country of India, Manish Gupta witnessed a fading trade. "I met many artisans who made beautiful products but couldn't even make a dollar a day," he says.

As a result, Gupta found that the younger generations in the villages he visited weren't interested in continuing the handicraft practice, and he feared that the art would disappear. "I realized I have a lot of opportunities and skills that I could use to help these people and this industry," says Gupta, 30, who previously worked for Dell. Inspired by his travels, he started Handmade Expressions in 2005, which sells products such as handbags, jewelry, stationery and table accessories that Gupta sources from cooperatives in India.

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