Diaspora Marketplace started over 22 years ago with two brothers and a vision for a community.
Richard Shinhoster made his first trip to Ghana in 1994. There he was struck by the art and intricate crafts throughout Ghana and it was love at first sight. So much so, that he brought some of it back in a suitcase and showed it to relatives and friends, who loved the art as well.
In 1996, the Olympics came to Atlanta, GA, and Richard and his brother, Earl Shinhoster, had the opportunity to travel back to Ghana and orient the athletes that would be participating in the Olympics from Ghana and Burkina Faso. Outside of his professional duties, Shinhoster was sent back to Ghana with a robust list from family and friends of items they wanted from Ghana. That was when they realized the business opportunity for themselves and the artisans in Ghana. Unfortunately, it took a few years to put all the pieces in place, and in that time Earl Shinhoster died in a tragic car accident in 2000. However, Richard along with his remaining siblings carried on the vision and opened Diaspora Marketplace in 2002.
During their numerous trips, the Shinhoster brothers met people in the villages who made these items and developed relationships with them. By buying directly from the artisans, Diaspora Marketplace supports the people in the villages and provides unique and original artwork for people in Savannah and across the country. Since the first trip in 1996 and the opening of Diaspora Marketplace in 2002 until now, Diaspora Marketplace still does business with artists in the villages. We go directly to the person making the product. For some, this is their first opportunity to make money with their products and truly earn an income as an artist. With no middlemen, we purchase at a fair price and hand-select each piece.
Over the last few decades, we have expanded our inventory to cover Southern Africa, the Caribbean, and other parts of the African Diaspora. So, when you shop at Diaspora Marketplace, you are purchasing more than an item. You are engaging with a global community of artisans and crafters and bringing the world into your home.