These past few weeks we featured some of the great do-gooder companies we partner with! Hear about our new and exciting partnership with Ship Sunshine created by Anna Costello!
What inspired you to create Ship Sunshine?
When I moved to Colorado, there were many times I wanted to let friends back home know I was thinking of them but I wasn't quite sure what to send. I wanted to do something more than a card and more personal than flowers. My budget and time were limited and I just couldn't find many options. I wanted to be able to send the equivalent of a hug in a box - things that would make people smile and feel cheery. So, I built Ship Sunshine to do just that. My goal is to make it easy to brighten someone's day and celebrate the little and big things in life.
One of the reasons I wanted to start my own company was so I could insert my own values into it. Every Ship Sunshine box is hand-packed with eco-friendly materials, we donate proceeds from our boxes to a person, charity, or cause, we're collecting school supplies and toiletries for those in need, and we're totally open to more possibilities!
Why do you partner with Artisans Thrive?
I am truly inspired by Artisan Thrive's mission. I love that their approach is to help women entrepreneurs around the world hone in on their skills and expand their reach. Their model and training program is so well thought through and impactful to women artisans.
Know someone that could use a smile? A brighter day is a click away! Visit www.shipsunshine.com and use promo code ARTISANSTHRIVE15 for 15% off any order!
A bit about you and how you started Pure Lee Photography
I've been a wedding and lifestyle photographer for the past 4 years. Photography has been a passion and a hobby my whole life, I never meant to make it a career but I wouldn't have it any other way.
Pure Lee Photography shooting our Spring/Summer 2018 photo-shoot!
RA bit about your mission and why it's important
After seeing the realities of sex trafficking in my own city of Denver Colorado and across the world in the Himalayas, it has stirred me into action. Sex Trafficking is our century's greatest injustice bringing in $150 billion a year worldwide. The wedding industry worldwide makes $300 billion a year. As a wedding photographer I want to use my skills and profession to make a difference for women trapped in this industry. I give back 10% from each of my wedding packages to a non-profit in Nepal that works with sex trafficking survivors.
Learning about the issue of sex trafficking opened my eyes to the harsh reality of human trafficking all around the world. Human trafficking takes it's form often in poorly run factories that manufacture clothing with hazardous unnatural materials, assembled and made by men and women who are working hours unfit for health and survival. After learning about this I pledged to be more conscious about the companies I support and to make sure that companies I photograph for or shop from are paying their workers fairly, creating good and healthy work environments and helping them to succeed in all areas of life. Artisans Thrive is exactly that! A company that supports their artisans and treats them as if they were family.
Roseline Choker Necklace/ Wrap Bracelet photographed by Pure Lee Photography!
Mention this blog post and receive 20% off a shoot with Pure Lee Photography! Good until November 1, 2018.
The goal of WPMarket is not to reinvent the wheel when it comes to effectively reaching women and providing them valuable skills, business training, and/or microfinance. The reality is that there are plenty of organizations providing these benefits, as demonstrated by our partners.
We absolutely believe that this type of programming, when done in a sustainable and facilitative way, can be a catalyst in breaking the cycle of poverty. However, in working for many of these types of organizations and through our discussions with future partners, we see that local markets are often too saturated with products and international markets are often too difficult to reach without sufficient human and capital resources for logistics, marketing, and sales that our partners, who are all non-profits or cooperatives, often don’t have. The fact that they are also usually representing only one country and/or a certain number of products is also limiting. On the other hand, our goal is not to simply be a fair trade importer. While doing good work, there are also plenty of those, and we feel there is more we can do to support these types or organizations and the female artisans in a truly meaningful way.
With this thought process in mind, we developed our model to respond to the demand we see. By partnering with vetted organizations providing programming to female entrepreneurs, we are able to have a dual impact. First, we are able to provide income to the female artisans that our partners are working with by selling their products through our website and at local markets and events. This higher income enables the women to better provide necessities for herself and her family while also allowing them to work in a safe, collaborative, and flexible work environment that otherwise might not have been possible. We also see that women who have access to and control of economic resources tend to take on positions of leadership in their households and their communities. Second, by reinvesting a portion of the sales price (up to 20%) into our partner organizations, we are able to support them in continuing their valuable programs. In this way, both the artisans and the organizations benefit.
That said, by providing income to the women at fair prices and by reinvesting a large percentage into our partners, we aren’t left with an extremely profitable model. On one hand, that’s okay: we’re still able to cover our costs, and we are able to support our partners in a meaningful way that reflects our mission. (Dana and I weren’t thinking we could quit our day jobs anyway!). On the other hand, this limits the speed at which we can grow the number of partners we support, the number and types of products we offer, and the number of ways in which we support our partners.
For this reason, we launched our Indiegogo campaign. Our hope is that through this campaign we will be able to raise additional funds for two purposes. First, to increase the number of partners and products we have with an emphasis on further partnering with organizations that have little or no access to international markets. The demand is there, they are just waiting for us to partner with them! Second, to further expand our level and types of support to our current partners. We envision being able to eventually offer grants and other types of support to our partners. Know that your investment will be used directly to grow our programs (not cover salary expenses, as we are entirely volunteer run!)
We’re interested in your thoughts and questions. What do you think of our model? Do you see areas for collaboration? If so, let us know in the comments below or by contacting us as firstname.lastname@example.org.