Husband and wife team Carolyn and George McKecuen are making their mark in a rural town in North Carolina -- where cows outnumber career opportunities 20 to one.
They are the masterminds behind Watermark, a member-owned craft cooperative that boasts hundreds of artisans... 98% of them are women. Watermark provides marketing and distribution services for local craftmakers, enabling them to sell their products around the country.
Watermark also teaches people who have no experience in making crafts the skills needed to create baskets, woodcarvings and candles. Once they master the skills, they join the Watermark team.
Photojournalist and filmmaker Barbara Pyle meets Christina Day, a mother of three who’s learning the art of basket-making. Her new skill is boosting her family’s income and her self-confidence. She’s inspired by the success of Bonnie Sawyer, who’s been making and selling baskets for seven years. Bonnie’s teenage children learn the value of hard work by helping deliver their mother’s baskets to Watermark’s storehouse.
In addition to offering training in crafts, Watermark also offers training in another marketable skill ... repairing old homes. Besides restoring houses, the training also restores confidence in the trainees who are eager to make a living.
George and Carolyn’s philosophy is to help members achieve their greatest potential. Often, goal this requires them to help resolve personal crises. Ten percent of the women who work at Watermark have been abused by their husbands. One woman talks candidly to Pyle about her abuse and recovery.
“Development to me is developing an individual,” says Carolyn. Today George and Carolyn are on a mission to replicate the success of Watermark all over the world. George believes “The sky is the limit!”