www.yourssustainably.com thought it would be interesting to invite some of our suppliers to write a guest blog; to give a better insight into their companies and employees. Our first guest blog coincides with the launch of our beautiful silk scarves, made in Afghanistan, supplied by Creative Women.
For over 9 years, Creative Women has been importing stylish wearable accessories and accents for the
home from our partners abroad. By finding markets for their handsome and unique products in the United
States, Creative Women is supporting the emerging private sector in each of these countries and, more
importantly, creating jobs for women and men, in societies where good jobs were rare. We have played a
part in the growth of all of our partners’ companies and help provide jobs for over 300 people, from office
staff, to weavers, sewers, maintenance workers, and tea ladies...in such diverse countries as Swaziland, Ethiopia, Senegal, Mali, Afghanistan, and now Brazil.
When Lynn asked me to write something for Yours Sustainably’ s blog, she suggested that I write about how Creative Women impacts the lives of the women and men that we work with. Immediately I thought I’d write about the additional jobs created and new designs developed. But what I think is equally important is how working with Creative Women has given the people we work with a sense of accomplishment, self-respect, and pride in their work and country.
On the last day of my recent trip to Ethiopia, we had decided that it would be interesting for the staff (admin, weavers, sewers, fringers, dyers, tea lady...everyone) to see what the products that they create look like in stores, on websites (some of them had never heard of a website), in catalogs. So, I showed them the Creative Women’s website, links to some stores that carry our products, photos that I have taken, and our booth at the NYIGF.
WIth each new photo, I started hearing whispering, but since the whispering was in Amharic, I didn’t know what was being said. The fellow who was translating told me that one of the weavers was telling everyone that he made the towels that I was showing and that he’d never seen them look so good. His proud grin made me pretty proud too.
Then one of the sewing women asked me (through the interpreter) if I would comment on the pillows... how was the sewing? This was a particularly timely question, since our first pillows often arrived in Vermont and went straight to a local seamstress who inserted new zippers. Today the pillows arrive looking perfect; I showed her a photo that I took in my home, of the pillow collection, More whispering, laughing...
The final comment came from one of the dyers...a tall man who would smile and say hello to me each time I walked by the dyeing room. That’s as far as our conversations ever got. Now he just said " I never thought about what happens to the things I dye. Seeing where they end up, I’m proud to make things that show the world that beautiful things come from Ethiopia." Wow. www.yourssustainably.com