Empowering women through trade
AN EMPOWERING IDEA
Whilst studying at the University of Exeter, we were fortunate to gain work experience in a large charity organisation in Ethiopia. After seeing the disconnect between the charity's actions and what rural Ethiopian communities really wanted, we were motivated to create a solution that benefited all parties involved. So we (Kalkidan and Vidmantas, hi there) decided to start up a fair trade clothing shop in the summer of 2015 in Exeter in addition to developing our own line of sustainable scarves the following year.
To create a business that benefits all parties involved, we put all our focus on empowering our team of talented weavers. Firstly, we find those most in need of a new opportunity, mainly recently widowed mothers who reside in rural areas. Then we spend time teaching the mothers basic business, trade and weaving skills. Finally, we purchase the wooden looms, materials and designs for them to start creating products like our scarves!
Our makers are all trained in the traditional art of loom weaving. This zero energy, handmade process ensures each scarf is of the highest quality and makes each scarf a little bit different. All the materials used in this process are locally sourced, 100% natural Ethiopian cotton. We try to minimise environmental harm and maximise beauty by leaving the majority of our scarves undyed.
We want to inspire, empower and impact the lives of everyone touched by our organisation. From the makers, to the shops selling our scarves, to the people buying them. We want to send the message that business can change the world for the better.