GIANNA is a Redwood City, California-based company that creates life-changing opportunities for underprivileged artisans in developing countries. Every product sold moves an artisan further along the path of self-sufficiency.
The company’s work usually begins by identifying groups of artisans in poor rural villages or urban slums that already produce a craft but need assistance improving product design, finding markets, and building systems. Through a series of structured visits, each group’s goals and current situations are discussed. If the group has a genuine passion to work hard and improve their lives and the well-being of their communities, the co-creative design process begins. This process blends indigenous designs with modern practicality and elegance, while respecting the environment.
GIANNA’s mission is to empower severely disadvantaged artisans through education and fair trade, regenerative commerce. Unlike other companies that sell fair trade goods, GIANNA maintains direct contact and genuine relationships with its artisans. The GIANNA team travels to the villages where the artisans live, immerse themselves in their world, and learn about their needs and their craft.
GIANNA was founded by Gianna Driver, whose passion for empowering women around the world is deeply rooted in her personal history. Following her parents’ divorce, a young Driver lived in a women’s shelter for years. Through her daily interactions with the other occupants, she became passionate about women’s empowerment and equality.
Driver quickly learned that education was her way out of poverty. She entered college at the age of 16 and was the first in her family to go. Later, she attended the Wharton School. After graduation, Driver got a job in commercial insurance but realized that her heart was in helping women in circumstances similar to her mother’s. She left corporate America in 2005, founded GIANNA, and began meeting with artisans in developing nations. The company currently works with artisans in India, Laos, Thailand, and the Philippines.