Our Story

Welcome to Culture-Cross! 


Culture-Cross is a collaboration between artists and craftspeople as well as aid and nonprofit organizations around the world. 

Our goal is to provide sustainable incomes and the preservation of cultural heritage, and we accomplish this by empowering and supporting artisan communities and donating proceeds to non-profit organizations around the world. 


Our story

In 2010 founders Ben Chaffee and Alex Zinn lived in Taiwan as teachers and travelled across Southeast Asia. On their travels they encountered small local craftspeople who were supporting themselves and their communities with their crafts. Alex and Ben began collecting art directly from these craftspeople and bringing it back to the United States in 2011 and Culture-Cross was born. By 2014, Culture-Cross were traveling to countries across  South Asia, Central America and Southeast Asia to learn about the cultural traditions of the communities there and meet local craftspeople.
In 2015 a deadly earthquake struck Nepal and many communities there were directly affected by the tragedy. Culture-Cross began supporting multiple aid groups in Nepal, including the Nepal Youth Foundation and several schools in the Kathmandu Valley. Today, Culture-Cross support the Phare School in Cambodia, and recently finished construction of the Culture-Cross pavilion there.

Supporting Communities

Culture-Cross proudly supports many different communities around the world. The three main communities that we support are the Hmong, the Tibetan and the Rajasthani communities.
The Hmong/Miao are a people that are indigenous to the mountainous regions of South China and Southeast Asia. The Hmong/Miao have their own unique culture and language and are known for their intricate embroidery and their silver jewelry. Ben and Alex began traveling to Hmong villages in 2012 and has been working directly with the Hmong/Miao communities ever since.
Read more about the Hmong people.
The Tibetan diaspora extends across the ancestral Himalayan homes of the Tibetan peoples and beyond. Tibetan communities have been established in the Kathmandu valley in Nepal for generations as merchants and as craftspeople and are famous for their work with turquoise, coral and other gemstones in their elaborate jewelry. Alex and Ben traveled to Nepal in 2013 to work directly with the Tibetan and Nepali craftspeople and have been working with them since. 
Rajasthan is the Westernmost state of India and a place that is known for it's embrace of traditional Indian culture and art, especially jewelry. Culture-Cross first traveled to Rajasthan in 2015 to connect with the artisan communities there and have been supporting them since.
 Journey shared by friend
November 9, 2020 Update

The Culture-Cross music pavilion is complete!

The Culture-Cross music pavilion is now finished! The children at Phare now have a safe place to learn and practice traditional music. Cambodia and the Phare school have been immensely impacted by Coronavirus, and we are now dedicating our efforts to helping the school survive these difficult times. Our support of the Phare school is now focused on providing the children with adequate food, shelter and education.  



July 2021 Update:

We are now supporting Doctors Without Borders response to the Covd19 emergency. Click here to read more


Connect with us!
We are always working to make our business better. Please contact us if you have any suggestions to make, if you would like more information, or if you just want to say hi. We look forward to hearing from you!