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.
A little behind-the-scenes insight here...
As a store owner, there are loads of resources out in the wilds of the internet, ostensibly to help me succeed in my business. Did you know that I start hearing about Black Friday (as in "are you prepared to break through on Black Friday?") in the summer?
It is SO EASY to find ourselves as consumers in the maelstrom of other people's (and corporations') marketing efforts, and not even remember how we got there, or even notice these (very intentional) forces working away on us.
Here are some actions we can take now to simplify the noise before the noisiest time of the shopping year:
I shared on Instagram recently a post that Gretchen Rubin had written (taking concepts from her book, The Happiness Project), entitled,
I've written a lot over the years about spending wisely, thoughtfully, holding back, slowing down, and really considering, "Do I want to spend money on this [insert item, service, etc. here]?" I still think that this line of thinking is crucial — a necessary counter to the bombardment of our culture towards buy-buy-buy.
But, Gretchen was tackling the question from a different angle: yes, being thoughtful; but, actually with a focus on the positives of actually spending the money.
7 years after starting dignify... I have booked a trip to travel to Bangladesh for the first time. I am excited & apprehensive, and while I won't be public about dates (it is sometime in the coming 6 months), I want to share some details of the journey (and my process of getting this trip going) with you.