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"It has tremendous impact to employ a woman. Not only on her life, but on her children's lives."
THIS IS THEIR STORY IN THEIR OWN WORDS (EDITED FOR SPACE AND FLOW).
It has tremendous impact to employ a woman or allow a woman to earn a livelihood, not only on her life, but on her children's lives, and the larger community.
The challenge we saw was how to bring marginalized women, women who are not only in some of the poorest countries, but also are the poorest within their countries, into economic activity locally and internationally.
12 years later, we have customers in all 50 states and in many countries. We also work with major retailers like Macy's, under their Gifts that Give Hope brand.
In online retail, it's hard to distinguish between a group that has little connection to communities, and a group like us, who has been doing it for 12 years and established close relationships with communities and artisans.
Our success is really dependent on our partners’ success. If we're not successful selling their products, if we go away, their market dissolves. Our goal is to introduce them to other potential customers, but that takes time.
Starting a new anything—business, organization—can be scary. But it's okay to take risks as long as there is a well-thought-out process.
What I [Joan] love about this work is bringing products to the marketplace and people appreciating them.
I [Catherine] love hearing from the artisans how excited they are that women in the U.S. value their product, have purchased it and enjoy wearing it.