I have often mentioned when discussing dignify & my work that I, personally, am more focused on the business aspect than the social justice results.
Partly this is because of my skills, interests, & affinities: my background is in marketing, I love visual aesthetics & design, and I am a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none personality that lends itself well to small business.
I also mention this to people partly because it brings things down to earth. When you tell someone you are working in “fair trade” and employing women who have been trafficked and sexually exploited, they tend to feel overwhelmed and somehow inferior. But I am no saint. I am a very unremarkable person, doing something I really enjoy, that happens to have very significant & remarkable results.
So, I keep my head down, focus on what I know (well, and on a lot of things I don’t know – running a business is like doing 18 jobs at once): photographing blankets, mailing packages, creative marketing, etc. Sure, I think about the women involved – I see their names, receive pictures from their office, & marvel over their handiwork.
But I forget about why they are there, at Basha, in that office, stitching their names.
I couldn’t watch it in one sitting. It is grave and it is true. As Basha wrote, “If you want to know why we work tirelessly to make sure Basha can expand throughout Bangladesh, this will show you why. It is graphic, it is disturbing, but it is an amazingly candid view of what is happening here. It ends stating the fact that once embroiled in prostitution, there is little to no chance of leaving. This is what Basha is changing, one blanket, one bracelet, at a time.”
It shook me back to the heart of the matter. It made me mad & sad & more inspired than ever. We will grow, we will sell, we will aid, we will empower. We need to. Join us:
Arthur Ashe said, “To achieve greatness, start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.” For specific actions, click below.
Looking back at some photos from last Christmas, I came across this screenshot from my phone that really made me laugh:
My husband was dropping off our parcels recently, and a woman working in our shipper's office said, "I was looking at your site, and I think I might buy some of these blankets this year as gifts; I'm mostly shopping online." Another employee chimed in, "I'm going to do all of my shopping online, too."
That evening, he went with our kids to the mall to pick something up (masked, natch), and as he surveyed the hallways — with some permanently closed stores, some shuttered from lack of employees, etc. — Wayne's thought was, "I think I need to do all my shopping at the mall!"
Recently, dignify received a review on our blankets that addressed the variety of our styles (color/pattern), and the contrast/matching choices that go into our kantha. Let's take a glimpse behind-the-scenes at the number of factors that contribute to these decisions.
How do we choose the fabric? How do we match saris to create the kantha blankets? Why are some combinations bad? Why aren’t there more grey/buttery yellow/navy blue color combos?
I know that many of you have wondered about these questions from time to time, too!