How do you solve the poverty problem and improve the lives of those living in rural communities in the developing world? It’s a question that stumps countless do gooders and one we ask often at Eco Warrior Princess.
The answer may lie in social entrepreneurialism; mindful businesses with a core mission to help solve some of humanity’s toughest problems, including poverty. It’s what prompted Vladimir Ermakov and his good friend and partner David Gorodyansky to launch GlobeIn.
While poring over books by Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohammad Yunus about micro lending and social business, the two realised that while micro finance can help kickstart a a business, the success of a business lay in reaching customers. “While organisations like Kiva can help start small businesses in remote regions, they still needed a platform to take them to the next level,” Ermakov explains. “We decided to build this [GlobeIn] platform for the artisans in developing countries.”
How does GlobeIn benefit artisans?
GlobeIn is a social good company that empowers remarkable, remote artisans by promoting and selling their crafts by way of fair trade subscription boxes. Each box is tastefully curated, filled with lifestyle food and fashion products that are handcrafted by artisans and designers from around the world. Artisans and farmers are paid fair prices for the products they make. And with the help of the GlobeIn team and its online platform, they can reach a global economy that was previously inaccessible.
“The subscription model allows us to order products in large volumes,” says Emarkov. “As a result, we are able to optimize logistics, offer our customers great value products, while ensuring that more money goes to the artisans. For artisans large orders also mean a steady income that is predictable and reliable, something they appreciate much more than large but unpredictable payouts.”
The products in each subscription box are not only unique but functional. Customers can expect handcrafted or sustainably-made products in each artisan subscription box. But they aren’t just limited to a subscription box. They can purchase each item individually too. “Some of our best selling individual products: Handpainted Mug from Tunisia, Pestemal Bath Towel from Turkey, and the Upcycled Laundry Bag from Cambodia,” says Ermakov.
In its relatively short period of operation, one year in fact, GlobeIn has grown its business by sixteen times to over $1 million in annual revenue, proving that the product has to come first and the mission second. Without customer buy-in, it would never have achieved such a wonderful financial result and gives hope to other responsible businesses seeking financial sustainability. Other highlights include:
- employing 7 African refugees and 3 Malawaians with disabilities,
- employing handicapped artisans in Cambodia,
- providing 3,300 hours of training for women in Rwanda,
- employing 16 woodworkers and funding for a new workshop, and
- paying for an artisan’s cancer treatment.
The team also offered to send me a box. The minimalist in me kept saying no. But the fashion lover in me just couldn’t resist. I chose the Threads Box, because the embroidered clutch bag had my name on it. I later discovered that this stylishly curated box was made in collaboration with Fashion Revolution. In it I received:
- a Jaipur-inspired geometric-patterned hand embroidered Foldover Clutch from Tribe Alive in India,
- a beautiful Handwoven Palm Leaf Basket made by Don Juan Garcia and his family in the town of San Pedro Jocotipac in Mexico,
- a Tribe Alive Tassel Bag Charm handmade by the artisan collective Mi Esperanza in Honduras, and
- The Vicky Tee from Wildlife Works in Kenya.
Want to learn more? Just visit their website and browse yourself. Now is it too soon to say that GlobeIn Artisan Boxes make the perfect conscious Chrissy gift?
For more information on how GlobeIn is making a difference in the lives of its artisans, click here.
Disclosure: Eco Warrior Princess received a GlobeIn Artisan Box as a gift and was not financially compensated for this post.