Given the wildly common theme in career advice and success-talk, I should be ashamed to say that this project did not, at all, arise from a long love, desire, or passion. I’ve never had a passion for textiles, for importing/exporting, for entrepreneurship… even my affinity for social justice, at the start of this business, I would have described as little more than average.
Nope, dignify did not grow from years of yearning, saving, planning, & wishing. It began with an almost offhand comment – one of many, from my idea-filled, entrepreneurially-minded husband – about distributing some blankets in Canada. We knew this gal Robin, an American, running her business out of Dhaka, Bangladesh, selling blankets made by women from exploitative (at best) and sex trafficked (at worse) circumstances. We were big fans of what she was doing, and I loved the blankets; they were so unique, hip, and beautiful, sewn by hand from vintage saris. The look, the craftsmanship, the weight… I hadn’t seen anything like them. I’d never even considered starting a business before, much less a retail operation, with inventories & shipping waybills & import numbers…
But, something happened. A switch was flipped. I simply could not get to sleep at night without plans, dreams, ideas, details, and a vision for this business all floating through my head. I couldn’t sit down at the computer without scouring the internet for other products that I would want; other things that were made by real people, people who had names and even pictures (smiling, too!); people to whose lives were brought life, dignity, and value, along with a paycheck.
And so my “passion” grew.
And it continues to grow, each time I find out that a Dhaka woman who has been “signing” her thumbprint to receive her paycheck is learning to write her name through her employer’s literacy program. My passion grows when I learn that a Rwandan cooperative that makes our bangles is staffed by widows of the genocide, working alongside wives of imprisonedgénocidaires who killed their families, seeking unity & reconciliation through economic community.
And, of course, it grows with every like, sign-up, follow, and excited face that tells me that this is, indeed, something that we-the-people want. That it isn’t just about passion, but convergence.
So, I don’t know about “Follow Your Passion”, but I’m delighted that you’re here to follow mine.
Off we go!
This week was “Giving Tuesday”, a day that has captivated consumers into funnelling some of the shopping mania (of the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend) into charitable giving.
One of the huge questions that potential donors have is: what happens to my money when I donate?
It’s a great question, and a worthy one to ask.
👆This was a question I received from our contact form a few months ago.
With respect, I think that starting with this question... probably reveals that we are beginning on different pages. Nonetheless, it is a conversation worth exploring and a question worth asking.
In fact, what the writer asked for was a comparison list; so, here we go:
I dislike the overblown, frenetic, & scarcity-minded ethos of Black Friday. Plus, dignify always has our own one-day, once-a-year sale earlier in November. So: why participate in any of it?!
This is a tension that I have wrestled with over 6 holiday seasons, end every year, I’m back at the drawing board.
This year, we decided that yes, we would offer free shipping over the weekend as a BFCM (industry shorthand for Black Friday/Cyber Monday) bonus. And yes, what led us there was simple economics. It works, it makes money, it makes sense. But, probably not in the same way that you think...
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