Handmade items from five countries now available for purchase online and in Coke USA stores; Purchases directly benefit 5by20 women artisans and their communities
Recently, bloggers from across the United States gathered in Atlanta to celebrate the launch of Coca-Cola’s 5by20 artisan entrepreneurial retail program. For the first time ever, unique items made by women artisans participating in the 5by20 initiative can be purchased in Coca-Cola stores and online. The items are all handcrafted by women in Mexico, Turkey, Brazil, Philippines, Guatemala, UK and Kenya, and every item purchased directly benefits the woman artisan and her community.

Nearly 20 bloggers attended an afternoon event filled with speakers, demonstrations and shopping at the World of Coca-Cola attraction where they learned more about the 5by20 initiative and heard the stories behind the unique products.

The event began with comments from Bea Perez, Coca-Cola’s Chief Sustainability Officer, who explained the objectives of the 5by20 program. “We have the power to touch women across the world,” Bea explained. 5by20 aims to empower 5 million women who work across Coca-Cola’s supply chain by 2020, and since the initiative launched in 2010, 865,000 women have been empowered in 52 countries.

A small, yet special, segment of these women are artisan entrepreneurs who recycle beverage packaging and transform it into handmade items such as handbags, jewelry, belts, iPad covers, notebooks and more.  To date, over 1,000 artisans in 15 countries have benefited from 5by20 through access to design or business skills training, finance or assets and mentorship.


Kathleen Plate, the Founder and Designer of Smart Glass Jewelry, spoke to the bloggers about her collaboration with Coca-Cola and how she transforms glass bottles into unique pieces of jewelry, chandeliers and even dresses.

Judy Achar, the Founder and President of the Mitz Foundation, shared with the group how her organization is partnering with the Coca-Cola 5by20 initiative to help women in Mexico create a better future for themselves and their families by weaving recycled Coca-Cola packaging into items such as handbags, notebooks, backpacks, picture frames.

Judy shared the story of Sandy Yazmin Colohua Gomez, a 22-year old who discovered the art of weaving plastic labels through the Mitz Foundation 5by20 program in her community in Chimalhuacan, Mexico. Although Sandy struggled with the weaving technique at first, she eventually mastered it and learnt that “if you persevere you’ll do anything you want.”

After hearing Sandy’s story, Tami Mittan, “Colorado Mountain Mom”, wrote, “We frequently hear the term “empowerment” used as a buzzword these days. But this is what empowerment truly means. It means helping someone get to the place in their life where they feel POWER. Sandy now feels she can truly do anything in life. And that’s a beautiful thing.”

The bloggers also learned how to weave their own bookmarks out of recycled Coca-Cola labels to better understand the intricate skills 5by20 artisan entrepreneurs are learning across the world.

Hearing stories from 5by20 women and seeing their crafted items helped the bloggers better understand the day-to-day lives of female artisans across the world. Blogger Makeba Giles concluded, “While viewing the pieces, I could not help but think of the hands that made them. The women artisans who were able to buy essential items for their homes, and secure better access and education for their children – all because of their involvement with the Coca-Cola 5by20 program.” 

In Her Words

The following is a round-up samples of comments published by the bloggers after the event:

Kerry Elizabeth McCoy, YUMMommy said, “Whoever put together the group of bloggers for this event did a superb job of matching our personalities because everyone was down to earth and we all bonded…I'm thankful for the chance to have met some of the women whose lives Coca-Cola has impacted thanks to their #5by20 community initiative.” Read more at http://www.yummommy.com/.

Makeba Giles, MELISASource, blogged, “after hearing the stories of Sandy, Judy and Kathleen, and learning more about the challenges of women entrepreneurship in other countries, not only did I feel inspired and energized, I also felt empowered that I could make a difference in the lives of other women who feel the same way that I did so many years ago. It was truly a remarkable experience.” Read more at http://www.melisasource.com/.

Stefani Tolson, Mommy Enterprises, wrote, “I have always had a passion for having my own business since I was a child and I loved learning about Coca-Cola’s 5by20 initiative that helps women entrepreneurs provide an income for their families and communities.” Read more at mommyenterprises.com.

Tami Mittan, “Colorado Mountain Mom” writes, “I heard from Judy Achar, one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met…Judy Achar has combined her huge heart, compassion for people, and entrepreneurial spirit to pioneer a way to change lives for the better…And kudos to a large corporation like Coca-Cola for helping making it all possible, including the final, vital merchandising step of making the 5by20 artisan products available for sale.” Read more at ColoradoMountainMom.com


Tisha Berg, Biz Mommy, said, “In a nutshell, the 5By20 event felt like a celebration. In fact, it was a celebration: one of women who had made the shift from hopeless and helpless to forceful and financially savvy. That’s a cause I can definitely get on board with.” Read more at www.bizmommy.com

Important Links

If you are shipping to North America and South America, you can now purchase 5by20 artisan products here: http://www.coca-colastore.com/5by20 (North America site)

If you are shipping to Europe, Africa, Asia you can now purchase 5by20 artisan products here: http://www.shopcoke.com/5by20-artisans (Europe site)