Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Dreamaid now supports multiple currencies

We are pleased to announce that Dreamaid now supports trading in multiple currencies.

Now as well as being able to list in Britsh Pounds(GBP) sellers can also list in US Dollars(USD) and Euros(EUR).

Coming soon we will have further multi-currency enhancements. Watch this space!

Dreamaid Development Team

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Mexico - Merida

Today was spent within a hammock making commune assisted by the Cemex company.

Their warmth and hospitality was humbling and we thoroughly enjoyed our time with the local people. My son and daughter demonstrated their hammock making skills and my son was offered a training position by the local ladies. (Well I offered his services to their loud laughter and applause)...

We are planning to buy a couple of their beautiful hammocks for our use in the UK and to have them sent by courier to avoid us having to carry them.

Donna Maria kindly gave us a seat hammock as a present. It was very special to her as it was her first product made after her training. Such was the enthusiasm of the commune to the Dreamaid approach to supporting them.

Almost everything is already in place with this group as they have a working commune, internet access and the support of Cemex to assist them in their development. By working together with Cemex we hope to be able to increase the sales of the hammocks both within Mexico and internationally. There are a few issues that need to be addressed but I am confident we can overcome them. Especially with the forward thinking people at Cemex in support.

Thanks to Carlos, Karen and Mariel of Cemex for their assistance in making this visit possible and we hope to be able to make the dreams of the local people come true. A very memorable day indeed :)

The quality of the workmanship is awesome. I've requested two for delivery to the UK as soon as they are online.

A wonderfully positive day in so many ways.

Peter McAteer

Mexico - Vayadolid

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Along the road from Merida to Cancun is a small town which has a wide range of artists and artisans working across a number of products. We visited with a local Professor who was the webmaster for Yukutan Traditional and his colleagues from the hammock, embroidery and dress making plus leather work areas.

Our hosts were warm and friendly and were captivated by the idea of Dreamaid. They had the same problems we had now witnessed in several areas where they simply had no access to the outside market place. Their products were bought by traders and sold in nearby towns for sometimes multiples of the original price they had received. 500% markups being not uncommon. This was a major concern to the people that created the products but they felt unable to do anything about it.

One producer of leather footwear was heartened to hear that he could go to his internet cafe already and upload pictures of his products and sell them now. A quick analysis of his prices suggested they may be too low. However, his quality was an issue in terms of the rubber used for the sole and it was suggested he consider importing better premoulded soles to gain a better price.

We agreed to take a look at the local Soriana supermarket to see if there was a potential for setting up a local Dreamaid kiosk to help the artisans of the area. The supermarket was particularly well suited to this having an external area which was apparently under utilised and could offer a good space in which to set up a PC with internet access and an area for the products to be photographed and sold on Dreamaid.

We shall pursue this potential with Soriana to see if they feel a trial in this area would be appropriate for them. An exciting prospect indeed...

A long weary day but well worth the effort :)

Peter McAteer

Mexico - Casa las Artesanias de Yukatan

An open discussion with the local government support foundation for artesans in the Yukatan peninsula gave substance to some earlier concerns. There were difficulties to be faced with Mexican legislation regarding taxation as many artisans operate outwith the tax environment.

Dreamaid may cause them to be more visible and this could put some artisans and artists off the idea of using Dreamaid. Also, the problem of internet access appeared to be very widespread across the area. However, our hosts were very appreciative of the potential for Dreamaid and agreed to assist us in contacting the artists and artisans in order to see if we could get them on board.

We also agreed to seek corporate support where possible to reach out to artists and artisans.

A visit to the shop run by the Foundation revealed a wide variety of products from the Yukutan ranging in both quality and style. There appeared to be a need for design input in some areas to widen the appeal of the products produced.

It was agreed that we would explore ways to work together to the mutual benefit of both Dreamaid and the Foundation and its artisans.

Thanks to Sylvia and Luz Elena for their time and a very rewarding discussion.

Best regards,

Peter McAteer

Friday, 24 July 2009

Mexico - Monterrey

Today was an amazing tour of two companies and a conference call to a third. The companies were Cemex (the world's third largest cement company), Lala (Mexico's largest dairy producer) and Sonaria (Mexico's largest supermarket chain).

I was not ready for the level of appreciation and support these people had for Dreamaid and was shocked to come away from the meetings with possible projects for the Dreamaid Charity and Dreamaid from all three of the companies.

Cemex has 14 coordinators liaising with around 160 projects within Mexico on social responsibility. The person I met there 'loved' Dreamaid and was very keen to progress towards a pilot project perhaps in our next location, Merida. We will be liasing with Cemex in the coming weeks to progress this and to see if we can expand to the other locations in which they support the people of Mexico. We talked of the efficiencies we can derive by using their infrastructure and our access to market. The potential for improving the lives of the people in their operating areas is great and we are determined to make their dreams come true.

Lala have already suggested they will attend our Press Conference in Mexico City next week and have tentatively committed to working with us within the Lala Foundation which is their vehicle for Corporate Social Responsibility. Here we talked of a specific opportunity in the desert area of Mexico where people are selling natural wax to a trader who then sells it for a 500% profit. If these people can access the market directly it could help transform their lives. We are planning how to make this happen.

Soriana had a group of artisans from Oaxaca in their store downstairs selling artisan products as part of a CSR project to help people from the poorer regions. However, this is an expensive way for the artisans to sell as it involves a lot of time away from home, travel and the carriage of goods that may or may not sell. We discussed the potential ways forward which could include setting up internet access within kiosks of regional stores, the support of local staff in consulting with the artisans to help them produce better and more profitable products and the possible setting up of stand alone Dreamaid Charity internet cafe's where artisans could sell their products online.

With all three companies we also laid the door open to other ways forward yet to be explored but agreed that a long term approach was necessary and required commitment on both sides.

All in all a very productive day. Tomorrow I fly south to meet my temporarily abandoned youngsters in Merida and we will be exploring the area of the Yukatan peninsula and one of the seven wonders of the world. Watch this space for more news!

Dreams can come true!

Peter McAteer

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Mexico Mayan People of Chiapas

San Cristobal de las Casas & San Juan Chamula

My son Tom joined Eve and I in Mexico City for the journey south to Chiapas.

Research by the UK Embassy staff suggested we should visit this area as there is a great deal of artisan work done in the area.

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We visited a great little commune of artisans at the Taller Laneteros in San Cristobal. Here they make paper products from discarded paper given by the local community. Products include books, cards, silk screen prints, posters etc.. We discussed how Dreamaid may be able to help this commune of 15 to 20 artisans by giving them better access to the market. They are planning to have a meeting of the commune to discuss how they might work with Dreamaid. Also Dreamaid is to consider seeking corporate sponsorship with a Mexican Company to see if we can assist the commune (and thereby their quite poor Mayan community) in improving their marketing and product development.

View Video
We then visited a local community in San Juan Chamula which was a humbling experience. Young children sometimes begged us for money but most sold us hand made woven bracelets and one very young child carrying his younger brother in a sack on his back asked for about 25 UK pence or about 40 US cents for a photograph.

A memory that will stick with us was witnessing a chicken being sacrificed in a religious ritual to clear sins of a man in the Mayan church.

Mostly people were hard at work creating clothing and blankets and there was a very large market place filled with products of all kinds. This gave us a great insight in to how the local communities depend upon the sale of their artworks and artisan works to live.

We will post some pictures on the website soon to give you a better idea of the place. Tomorrow I will be meeting a company to discuss how we might work together to assist the artisans in this area.

I will keep you posted!

Best wishes,

Peter McAteer

Australia & Hawaii

Only a couple of days were spent in each of these locations and unfortunately there wasn´t enough opportunity to explore the potential for Dreamaid in Australia or Hawaii. As one of the co-founders (Mark Sivewright) now lives in Sydney this wasn´t too much of an issue.

Sadly we missed a large art fair in the North of Hawaii on the day that we were leaving. It would have been good to have met with the local artists and to have gauged their reaction.

We did have some very positive reactions in conversatons with potential buyers who were impressed by the whole concept so let´s just keep the message rolling!

Most of the week was spent preparing for both Mexico and Brazil where the Dreamaid action will really be focused and hopefully yield some exciting results...

Dream on!

Peter McAteer

Sunday, 12 July 2009


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A week spent in Jakarta was not expected to offer much opportunity for Dreamaid as I was working on a project full time. However, a chance meeting with Matthias Rhein from the Department for International Development turned this in to a great week for Dreamaid.

Matthias has travelled the world in many guises and was very impressed by the potential of Dreamaid to help him fulfill his new role of 'squaring the circle' of poverty, the environment and development. He introduced me to a local hero Onte who has turned around the fortunes of local foresters by adopting international standards (FFS) for forestry management. As Indonesia accounts for a substantial part of the global carbon cycle (24%) the rampant destruction of forests in recent years as taken its toll. However, by using internationally recognised standards of management this trend can be reversed.

How does this affect Dreamaid? By working with those artists and artisans that use approved methods we can help them to achieve greater yields from their crops. This will reduce the amount of wood that needs to be cut and improve the climate. But also as a young tree absorbs carbon and an old one emits it, encouraging active use of trees helps the environment too. Therefore encouraging artisans to use eco-friendly managed crops improves the environment and also offsets the effects of Dreamaid's encouragement of international trade which could potentially increase emissions.

Matthias introduced me to a number of his international cohorts and his colleague Dominic in Indonesia. They are doing amazing things in this area and are truly dedicated to improvement of not only the Indonesian (and global) community but also of the environment.

We are now looking for projects to work on together and are delighted to have met by luck in the hotel gym. I am amazed at how frequently good fortune follows me in the development of Dreamaid.

Best regards,

Peter McAteer

Sunday, 5 July 2009


View Video

I spent a few days in Vietnam seeking support for the Dreamaid Charity from the oil and gas companies there. The reception we got was very good from all the companies and we have been referred within their organisations. Fingers crossed!

I visited a Handicapped Handicrafts place where people with various ailments made the most incredible artworks. I bought a large eggshell 'painting' which I have had shipped back home. This is the kind of organisation which would be good to support with the Dreamaid Charity as these invalids are totally dependent upon their craft to eat.

An amazing discussion with a man working in Vietnam demonstrated the difficulties in this country. He told me of his personal work with deprived families in his spare time. One story was of a family that lost their father in a lightening strike and being unable to support her three children the mother was forced to send her five year old daughter out to the streets. At eight weeks old the girl had lost an eye after suffering an infection, he bought her a glass eye and supported her through education at the orphanage.

Some of these young people make beautiful handbags, paintings, cuddly toys and embroidery which there are unable to sell resulting in a stock pile of unwanted goods. Perhaps Dreamaid could be of assistance in widening the appeal of the products and enabling the stock to get to a wider market than just the expatriate people in Ho Chi Minh...

He told of another child that was taken from the orphanage by her mother to be sold for $150 and how they had eventually found her and brought her back to safety.

We are looking at ways that we can link the Dreamaid Charity with the support of large companies in the area to try to avoid this desperation occurring by allowing them to gain more from their skills.

I left Vietnam with a heavy heart knowing that there was so much to do but knowing also that we could help and in doing so bring to the market the kind of products that our buyers would get a special warm feeling from owning.

Best wishes,

Peter McAteer