A New Subversive Eco-System Based on Collaboration Instead of Competition

by Rikki Quintana August 13, 2020 2 Comments

A New Subversive Eco-System Based on Collaboration Instead of Competition

Some days it seems like global civilization is collapsing around us. And business continues to fiddle while Rome burns.

Competition still rules. It’s a game of winner-takes-all. Only the apex predators ultimately survive because they already have the money, sales, staff, connections, and visibility to beat out the competition.

Bigger is better, and more is never enough. Income inequality grows daily.

Even for small businesses, the object of the game is to build YOUR brand and business, grow YOUR visibility and customer base, distinguish yourself from the competition. Your silo is the only one that matters. This outlook prevails even in the world of fair trade, social entrepreneurship, and social impact business.

But what if the focus shifted from building your brand to creating an entirely new business eco-system in which EVERYONE can thrive? What if you started from the assumption that growing the size of the pie for everyone was more important than protecting and increasing the size of your sliver?

Watching the pandemic play out around the world has shifted the way I think about business. I’m now looking for ways to build a more holistic, collaborative business eco-system, rather than just focusing on building the HoonArts brand.

It’s a puzzle. It’s subversive. I’m not sure how it will evolve or how it will ultimately look. But the game has become a lot more fun, and it has a lot more potential for impact beyond HoonArts and our artisans.


Fair Trade Conscious Collaboration: Shared Audience.

I’ve joined forces with a small group of other Fair Trade Federation members, and we are actively exploring ways to share our audiences. Without any “affiliate fee” or commission. And with everyone sharing the work and the expenses.

These FTF trailblazers are Nancy Dunitz of Dunitz & Company, Cael Chappell of Baskets of Africa, and Joan Rasch of Sevya Handmade.

 Fair Trade Red Gift Guide | HoonArts


You’ve seen our first two Fair Trade Gift Guides (the Red Guide and the Purple Guide), in which we highlight products from each of our companies and the artisans who make them. The Blue Guide and the Green Guide will be coming out shortly.


The Power of Purple Fair Trade Gift Guide


We also just completed our first joint social media Fair Trade Fashion Giveaway. We each donated a product to the Giveaway, and all promoted it on our own media channels.

Fair Trade Fashion Giveaway - HoonArts, Baskets of Africa, Sevya Handmade, Dunitz & Company


The results are small so far, but we’re learning what works and what doesn’t. And we all believe that there is enormous potential in the conscious collaborative effort. We just have to keep testing and evaluating.

Shared Shipping Expenses from Central Asia.

One of the biggest challenges and expenses of working with artisans in Central Asia is shipping costs from the region. All shipments must come by air freight, which has become even more expensive as a result of the pandemic.

In working with one of our artisan groups today, we worked out a way to share the international shipping expenses between HoonArts and another US customer. The artisans will ship both orders to me using a FedEx flat rate box. I will send the second order to the other buyer at US shipping rates. The total shipping expenses will be dramatically reduced, and everyone will benefit.

Other Resources.

I'm not the only one thinking this way about a holistic approach to life and business. Here are a couple of resources that you might enjoy:

Podcast: The Good Life Project – Mata Zaraska | Growing Young

Doughnut Economics, by Kate Raworth. Consider borrowing it from your local library, or if you need your own copy, check with your local bookstores before you head to the apex predators online.

The Future?

With this new mindset, I’m always on the lookout for ways to collaborate for the benefit of all. And it means I get to play with more people, which is a big bonus for me. The life of a “solopreneur” can be lonely.

If any of you have other ideas for conscious collaboration, I’d love to hear them.


Rikki Quintana
Rikki Quintana


2 Responses


August 17, 2020

Great article and ideas presented! Thanks for the thoughtful and uplifting way in which you do business.

Candy Hearne
Candy Hearne

August 17, 2020

Rikki- I applaud your efforts !!!
You go girl!!!
I got an e mail from Zhanyl- she sounds better – I’ll send to you
Good works girl
Keep it up

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in The HoonArts Caravanserai

Before the pyramids? Really?
Before the pyramids? Really?

by Rikki Quintana December 01, 2022

I’m usually not a huge archeology buff, and I tend to agree with my archeology friend’s assessment that archeologists spend too much time “guessing” what dead people were thinking. But my recent archeology adventures in Tajikistan did give me a new appreciation for the melding of history and culture in archeology. I also freely admit that the enthusiasm of the two archeologists in our 3 ‘Stans Tour group was contagious. Our first archeological site in Tajikistan was . . .

Continue Reading

Gratitude for Magical Moments in the 'Stans
Gratitude for Magical Moments in the 'Stans

by Rikki Quintana November 24, 2022

Since this is Thanksgiving week in the US, I've been taking stock of the many things for which I'm grateful. (I keep a daily gratitude journal where I record five things I'm thankful for, which must be different from the five things noted the day before. This practice, recommended by my fantastic business coach Tania Vasallo, has helped me get through the craziness of the last few years.) My trip to the 'Stans in September and October ranks very high on the top 25 list of gratitude-inducing e...

Continue Reading

Eating Our Way Across the ‘Stans — A Farm to Table Adventure
Eating Our Way Across the ‘Stans — A Farm to Table Adventure

by Rikki Quintana November 17, 2022

I love food, but I’m not a true “foodie.” I rarely take photos of food for social media (though my daughter and I do exchange text photos of extra-indulgent desserts). I don’t collect recipes because I rarely cook these days. But food is such an integral part of any travel experience that I thought you would enjoy this “food tour” of Central Asia—incomplete as it may be. The photos included in this blog are . . .

Continue Reading