Fordham students partner with artisans in Dominican Republic

Image 1 of 3

Fordham University juniors Kiera Maloney and Alyssa Rose are roommates and best friends they're also international business partners.

After a freshman year service trip to the Dominican Republic, they noticed local artisans in Puerto Plata were relying solely on tourists to make money and came up with an idea. Last year, they launched Radiate Market. They buy wholesale from more than a dozen different artisans and sell their products online, ranging from $15 to $35.

They work with a women's cooperative called La Tienda that makes seed bead jewelry. Pillows are from a woman named TiTi who uses recycled fabrics and rice sacks. Then there's Nanu, a Haitian immigrant who couldn't find work in the Dominican Republic. Now he sells Radiate Market beautiful metal art. Since working with them, he's been able to hire people in the town and create a better life for himself.

Keira and Alyssa run the business out of the Fordham Foundry, a student business incubator across the street from campus.

On top of their regular class load, they do all of the bookkeeping, inventory, and shipping themselves.
Neither is a business major, but they have nearly 20,000 Instagram followers and more than $7,000 in sales in just six months.

Once Kiera and Alyssa graduate, they plan to keep the business going. They want to start working with local immigrant artisans in the Bronx and across the city.