The crux of our work is, of course, selling blankets to employ women in a job with dignity. What that means — to me — is that the artisans & administrators from our partner producers (Basha) are treated with the utmost of respect. That they are treated with the honour that would be bestowed on a diplomat, CEO, or celebrity, even if (especially if?) they were recently homeless or selling sex.
That is crucial to our story & our values.
But, what about in other parts of my business? What about in other parts of my life?
When a telemarketer or door-to-door salesperson comes by, is their dignity of utmost importance? Or, do I just want to get rid of that person to get on with my day? Do I resent the interruption, or do I treat the interruptor as I would want to be treated?
In one of the only parenting books I have embraced (well, let's be honest: that I have read at all), Barbara Coloroso emphasizes that in consequences and conflict resolution, the key importance is: keeping everyone's dignity intact.
This week, I received a call from a customer who had a question "about something on the website," and when I phoned back, it turned out it was not a customer — it was a sales call. How do I politely decline when I feel manipulated? How do I conclude our conversation with everyone's dignity intact?
I have also been working with a team on a project who finally delivered their work, 1+ month after I was expecting it, and it was a huge disappointment. I'm angry & frustrated with the work, but how do I express it without degrading the workers who completed it? How do I keep their dignity (and mine) intact?
In some ways, I think that being generous-of-spirit to the downtrodden can be the easiest — there is a lot of compassion & empathy that drives our emotions, and then our actions. But, what about everyone else? What about the people "at the top" who contribute to others' struggles? Do I have dignity for them, too, or only disdain?
I have no conclusions or personal proof, that's for sure. Mostly just questions & reflection.
Dignity: it's on my mind!
Every month, we need to put a category in our personal budget for gifts. There is always an event or occasion that is calling for a gift: Christmas, anniversary, birthdays, retirements, graduation, sympathy, gratitude, and on. And, like most people, we want to make the gifts that we give count! So how do we choose a gift that will be meaningful to the recipient?
Giving a gift is, of course, a subjective exercise; there is no perfect formula that will help you reach the “perfect gift”. However, there are certain questions you can ask that will help you choose a meaningful gift for your gift recipient:
Let’s look at these questions, some common gift-giving mistakes, and, finally, some meaningful gift ideas!
Our production partner, Basha, began in one little office in Dhaka, Bangladesh — the most densely populated city in the world. Over the many years they have been in business, creating kantha textiles & jewelry, they have expanded: both in number of staff, and also locations.
It was helpful for some women to leave the norm of their old life environment, to get away, to start fresh in a new city. So, Basha created different offices in varied locations. They established a girls' home to safely house daughters & other vulnerable young women as they come of age.
As Basha has continued to identify the great need of women in Bangladesh, there is another area they have expanded: actively seeking women in brothels & whispering the potential of a new life.
As I was packing for our first family international flight (to London UK), I wanted to make sure that we had everything we needed to make our overnight journey the most comfortable. As you know, those flights can be a little chilly - so I wanted to bring blankets for all of us. Naturally, I wondered...
Can I bring a blanket onto a plane?
In short: YES! According to the TSA you are allowed to both check a blanket in your luggage and to bring a blanket on a plane within a carry-on (and this also includes electric blankets). You can even bring your own blanket in your arms as you would a jacket or hat, without it counting towards your carry-on or personal item limits or paying any extra fees.