There’s a really difficult conversation that happens often in the ethical and fair trade space… and it’s a conversation around respect and getting rid of that savior complex when it comes to sharing the stories of artisans and men and women in vulnerable situations. It’s a fine line to walk. The stories of these beautiful people are important and they should be heard… but they should never be exploited for sales or personal gain. Seeing these artisans for the PEOPLE that they are – the HUMANS they are – and how they deserve respect and dignity… in ALL situations. It’s not about going in as the rich American “saving them from their plight” – it’s about empowering them and lifting them up to share their talents and skills with the world.
My guest on the Business with Purpose Podcast this week is Abby Alley, the founder of Zuri Collection. Abby and I had such an amazing conversation and we tackled everything from discussing how we should be sharing the stories of artisans to what it really looks like to humble ourselves and LISTEN. This is an episode you are NOT going to want to miss a second of!
Abby is the founder of Zuri Collection, a business that seeks to create opportunity for artisans in East Africa to grow their business by having access to a global marketplace and fair wages. It all started back in 2014 when I (Abby) went to teach primary school in Arusha, Tanzania. Seeing firsthand how difficult it is for many Tanzanians to find a job that paid enough to support their families, I knew I wanted to do something to get involved. As a career teacher, I thought about starting a school, but after learning more about the power of fair trade, helping people grow their businesses became a passion. The wheels started turning and I began to dream about what it would look like to partner with artisan entrepreneurs in Tanzania and in other parts of East Africa.
Zuri Collection was launched in October, 2016, and it has been an amazing first year! My hope is to continue to develop a brand where women who love fashion can find quality, ethically-made, and unique pieces. Currently we carry collections of handcrafted bags, baskets, and jewelry.
I love that God made all of us different, yet the same. He gave us all unique talents and diverse cultures, but all of us are made in His image and have a desire to have work and for purpose. Zuri is a place where we see the beauty of God through the stories of women around the world. Our pieces represent those stories. When you wear or purchase Zuri, you are wearing and displaying a beautiful story.
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Join my Purchase with Purpose Facebook group and let’s continue the conversation! https://www.facebook.com/groups/purchasewithpurpose/