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Susan Hull Walker

Owner and Creative Director, Ibu Movement

Ten years ago, Susan Hull Walker founded the Ibu Movement to offer a marketplace for remarkably skilled women artisans in developing economies. Her goals were two: put money in the hands of women, and preserve the near-extinct cultural languages carried in craft. Today, Ibu partners with over 100 women’s artisan groups in 50 countries, collaborating in design and offering their quality goods via a storefront on King Street, a strong e-commerce presence, and national trunk shows and salons.

Ibu is not-for-profit, but for progress, for impact, for women. In addition to the Marketplace, Ibu offers grants to fund workspaces for their partners as well as business or skill training. Ibu also works to elevate the whole artisan sector, one of the fastest growing income-producers in the world, at $466 billion now, expected to grow to double in 5 years. Most of those artisans are women (inspiring, skilled, ambitious, resilient women).

Susan grew up in Louisville, KY, attended Baylor University and Harvard Divinity School, where her cross-cultural studies in world religion formed the foundation for her work today. She served for 18 years as a minister in Portland, Maine, and at the Circular Church in Charleston, SC; as well as chaplain to a Women’s Psychiatric Hospital in San Francisco. She taught World Religion at the College of Charleston, later returning to school at the Savannah College of Art and Design to study Fiber Arts, becoming a studio weaver and dyer of cloth. She exhibited her art pieces and sold to both private and institutional collectors.

Textiles, she realized, are the repository of women!s stories, values, and the record of their lives. As she dove into the world of spinning, dyeing, weaving and embellishing hand-crafted cloth, Susan found her calling again as a different kind of Woman of the Cloth.

Susan now lives in Charleston, South Carolina, and Santa Fe, New Mexico, working full-time as the CEO and Creative Director of Ibu. She travels widely to visit the artisans and to present internationally on the powerful impact of this global movement.