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Furniture company strategy

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 2 months ago

 

Furniture Company Strategy

 

My thoughts after 6 years in the biz:  brianbutler

 

Moveis Mosteiro

Environment message

Humanitarian message

Charity

Prices from the manufacturer

Shipping

Affiliate marketing - portal idea

other Marketing ideas

payments to suppliers

Cash Flow Financing

 

 

 

One of the more important ideas is the necessity to apply strategy to our personal business. During class, I formulated the idea that my furniture company should look for global efficiencies and world wide centers of excellence. If I were to map out the ideal structure for my business, I would design my products in cheapest / best place in world, manufacture in cheapest / best place in world, market with service and with warranty and tailorization, and keep on innovating (sustainable). Perhaps I would locate my design center in New York City where competitive pressure and close proximity to global trends would keep us ahead of changing consumer demands. I would look to manufacture my furniture in the cheapest place possible for my desired level of quality, perhaps looking at China, India or Vietnam as potential sources. And then, I would use flexibility to service customers before and after the sale, allowing them to customize their products. For my management structure, I would need to be flexible enough to allow for exchange rate changes, meaning that I might need to shift my production from one country to another if FX rates changed, and I would need to be flexible enough to shift with style changes and changes in consumer preferences. I would try to develop my worldwide learning, and realize that design innovations could come from everywhere. I would attempt to gather design trends and new ideas from all places (Maybe using internet wiki technology). But, more importantly than anything, if I were to really think like a transnational manager, I would have to shift my way of thinking away from a Brazilian furniture exporter, and to a “global brand developer”. For now, I realize that I still do not have the management capabilities (yet) to pull off this dramatic transformation of my company (from what it is today, to what I dream that it should be). That said, this course was responsible for the vision of where I want to take my company someday, and I will take these lessons with me for a very long time.

 

 

History of Marketing efforts

While trying not to compete head to head with China on prices, we were determined early on that we needed to differentiate our products based on the quality of our raw materials and on the uniqueness of our designs. But over time, we have found that these two competitive advantages have been very hard to maintain. It is very easy for Chinese competitors to copy our designs, and it’s also easy for them to get access to Brazilian materials (there are Chinese companies that import Brazilian woods to China and manufacture furniture cheaper than we can make in Brazil).

In addition to our difficulty in maintaining our competitive advantage based on design differentiation, we have also seen the Brazilian currency (Real) appreciate against the dollar which has made our furniture relatively more expensive in the US market. These three factors have worked like the “perfect storm” in reducing our competitiveness and eroding our market share. (click here for competitors quote of OUR products - from India: Marcusso Design Master Quote List.pdf )

For this reason, I have been working on a plan to once again capture a competitive advantage in our marketing efforts. My new push is to try and get people to buy furniture from us, not just because they like our designs, but also because they like the idea of our company as well. I want them to like us so much that they will be willing to pay a little bit more for our furniture. To create this “feel-good” experience, I am attempting to sell not only the furniture itself but also the impression that by buying our furniture, they will be helping to sustain the Amazon forest and to improve the lives of people living in a third world country. In effect, I want us to go “green” as a way of regaining our differentiation. I want us to focus on sustainable development of families, employees and of the environment (in that order) in order to sell more furniture.

 

 

Reference

These are other companies that have used the "feel-good" message to help sell their products

http://www.worldofgood.com • World of Good Inc., a Berkley, Calif.-based provider of “fair trade” globally-sourced goods, has raised $4 million in Series B funding. Backers include Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Omidyar Network and Cliff Higgerson.

http://www.tenthousandvillages.com/home.php - they have stores in nearly all US and Canadian cities

www.camanoislandcoffee.com - excellent video - makes you want to help

 

 

Environment

Sustainable Environment

Environment message

 

 

Sustain Individuals and Families

Humanitarian message

Sustainable development for the individual (and family) -

Beyond just a “sustain the environment” message, I also want to create my marketing message around sustainable development of families as well. The image will be that you can help sustain the individuals (and their families) buy buying our furniture. Since we already pay our workers three to four times the minimum wage in Brazil, this should be an easy first step in creating our feel-good image. There is very little debate or negotiation needed in this area. It’s a clear green light.

 

 

Unique sales force:

Non Profit fund raiser

 

 

Donations to Charity

Charity

 

 

 

See also

 

 

 

 

 

Donate some of our proceeds to Charity

To enhance the “feel good” aspect of buying from our company, I want us to set up a link between our company and charitable foundations such as the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) in which we donate a certain percentage of our profits to the charity of our customer’s choice. So, not only would our customer’s purchases help the environment in an indirect way (described below), but it would also contribute in a direct way as well. My goal here is to leverage the good feeling that people have with these charity organizations to help create the spillover feeling with my company as well. Since the money to fund this initiative would come from my raising prices to my customers, and not from the suppliers themselves, there is also very little debate, or negotiation needed here. This is another clear “green light”.

 

Where the negotiation begins to get complex is with the next step…. I want my suppliers to all switch raw material suppliers to only include FSC certified woods (in a minute, I’ll explain what this means), and I don’t want them to raise my prices to do so.

 

http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?keyword_list=amazon&Submit2=GO&bay=search.results

 

 

 

 

Envrironment Strategy

 

 

Everyone knows that the Amazon rainforest is disappearing at an alarming rate. In just one year, the amount of forest lost may be roughly equal to the size of Belgium, a small European country. A vast majority of this destruction is occurring because of slash and burn (clear cutting) of the trees. Farmers are cutting down the trees to make room for soy plantations and cattle ranches, and in the process they cut down everything in sight, sell the woods that are valuable, and then burn the rest to make way for farms. The problem is that trees have a lower economic value than the land for agriculture (in a short sighted sense, who wants to wait 100 years for the new trees to grow?).

 

Sustainable forest management is the process of removing only some of the trees from a forest, and leaving the rest intact. It also involves replanting and managing the forest for a sustainable future. From a lumber business standpoint, it ensures a steady supply of lumber without undermining the natural ability of forest to remain healthy and bountiful over time.

According to many environment and development groups, the best way to save the Amazon is to make it profitable to keep the forests intact, and to remove only some of the trees for economic development. They suggest that we need to find a way to make the trees above the land worth more than the land underneath.

 

From a marketing standpoint, I am proposing that we help to save the Amazon, by supporting the efforts of these companies that are buying the land with the intention of sustainably managing the forests (so they will be here for 100’s of more years to come). My thinking is that many Americans would feel good to know that their furniture came from the sustainable forests (and not the clear-cutted ones). For this good feeling, I think that Americans would pay a little bit more for their furniture, and that would help us to compete against the cheaper Chinese imports (see discussion below).

 

To certify forests as being managed in a sustainable way, there are a number of organizations involved. The most famous and most respected is the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which is a non-profit international organization whose standards are the most rigorous in the world today.

 

The issue is that FSC certified woods are more expensive that the price of non-FSC certified woods.

 

 

Potential solution

We might be able to create a second division (or even a separate company) in Brazil that might be able to get FSC certified, while leaving their existing operations alone. This would mean that we would only need to be FSC certified for the division that is exporting and that they could keep just their Brazilian certification for their internal operations. That way, only the costs for exports would be higher for the more expensive raw materials, and that I would only pay the portion of those costs that went toward producing my products (for the USA).

 

 

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)/Rainforest Alliance Forest Management Certification

For forestry operations worldwide, including large and mid-sized forest managers and groups of small landowners. Our SmartWood program evaluates forestry operations, awarding those that meet the principles and criteria of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) with certification. Forest Management certification is available to all types of landowners, including individuals, corporations, governments, communities and groups of small landowners. Individual companies or groups of companies can apply for certification.

 

 

FSC/Rainforest Alliance Chain-of-Custody (CoC) Certification

Manufacturers: http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/forestry/documents/manufacturers.pdf

Distributors: http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/forestry/documents/standards.pdf

Group certification: http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/forestry/documents/group.pdf

For forest-product operations including manufacturers, distributors and retailers that purchase and sell FSC-certified products. CoC certification ensures that the claim of FSC is valid, and is based on credible inventory management systems. Chain-of-Custody (CoC) certification assures consumers and forest product companies that the wood they buy comes from certified forests. CoC certification by our SmartWood program tracks wood from forests and tree plantations certified to the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) standards, from the forest to the point of sale. CoC certification is available for any operation that processes cut wood, such as sawmills, secondary manufacturers, broker/distributors, wholesalers, retailers, printers, paper merchants and other points in the forest products supply chain. If yours is a business involved in the production or delivery of certified products, you must hold a CoC certificate in order to make claims about the FSC content in your products. Certification is available for a wide variety of operations -- please see the standards below.

 

 

FSC/Rainforest Alliance Non-Timber Forest Products Certification

For operations that manage and harvest non-timber forest products.

 

 

Rainforest Alliance Rediscovered Wood Certification

http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/forestry/documents/rediscovered-wood-program-description.pdf

http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/forestry/documents/rediscovered-wood-guidelines-standards.pdf

 

For operations that purchase and sell reclaimed, recycled and/or salvaged wood products.

 

Rediscovered Wood Certification. The Rainforest Alliance’s SmartWood program evaluates forest product operations that are reclaiming or using reclaimed, recycled and/or salvaged wood materials. Those that meet our standards are awarded certification for Rediscovered Wood. The program is available to mills, secondary manufacturers, brokers/distributors, wholesalers, etc. and addresses certification of products that are not eligible for Forest Stewardship Council certification as recycled or reclaimed.

 

 

Links to Environment Organizations:

http://www.wwf.org/

http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/programs/forestry/smartwood/

Smart guide - list of furniture companies with certification:

http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/forestry/documents/smartguide_furniture.pdf

 

 

Charity organizations focusing on environment:

http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?keyword_list=amazon&Submit2=GO&bay=search.results

 

 

 

 

Sustainable

 

Sustainable development for the individual (and family) -

 

Beyond just a “sustain the environment” message, I also want to create my marketing message around sustainable development of families as well. The image will be that you can help sustain the individuals (and their families) buy buying our furniture. Since we already pay our workers three to four times the minimum wage in Brazil, this should be an easy first step in creating our feel-good image. There is very little debate or negotiation needed in this area. It’s a clear green light.

Fair Trade

 

Fair Trade is a Partnership that seeks to provide greater equity in the global marketplace. The Fair Trade Certified label guarantees that farmers and farm workers from developing countries receive a fair price for their crops or products.

 

 

 

http://www.transfairusa.org

 

 

 

Join our Coffee Lovers Club and partner with us to give something back to the families who grow our coffee.  As a member, $1 of every package of coffee you order will be donated to either Agros International or Coffee Kids, the choice is yours.  Both of these organizations are recognized to make the greatest difference in the lives of the people they serve.

 

JOIN The Coffee Lovers Club now to help make a difference in the world!

 

 

 

www.camanoislandcoffee.com   - VIDEO

What is Fair Trade?

 

 

The Fair Trade movement works to ensure that people are adequately compensated for the work that they do. It's a growing, international movement dedicated to securing a fair deal for producers in economically impoverished countries. A 'fair deal' includes paying workers a fair price for the goods they produce - a price that covers the cost of production, and guarantees a living income. It also involves programs that can provide lasting stability - such as long-term contracts for profits that the producers can bank on, and business training that can help increase sales and speed organization-growth. (Oxfam: Make Trade Fair). Fair Trade is concerned with economic opportunity as well as economic justice, and seeks out producers that have been historically over-looked by bottom-line developers.

A Little History on a Big Idea

The Fair Trade movement originated in Europe over 40 years ago. The Fair Trade mission is to create sustainable incomes for poor and disadvantaged producers by:

providing a living wage,

maintaining stable, long-term trade agreements, and

improving working conditions through education, campaigning and creating access to outside markets.

Today, the majority of low-income producers are workers in Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. Unfortunately, free trade agreements such as NAFTA, APEC, and WTO have ignored opportunities to protect workers and the environment while creating industrial opportunities in these developing regions. In India, for example, millions of people have been employed as piece-work garment workers for far-below minimum wage. This practice is tolerated, since the market for workers' traditional crafts has been all but eliminated, and their options for creating income grow increasingly limited.

 

The Fair Trade movement believes that workers should be paid a living wage. It has enjoyed great success in Europe, where fair trade goods are available in over 2,700 world stores and 43,000 supermarkets. Additionally, there are four multi-national fair trade organizations that work together to advocate for the Fair Trade movement: IFAT, EFTA, NEWS! and FLO International. In 2001, the European Fair Trade Association surveyed 18 countries and found that they work with over 100 importing organizations. The four largest of these organizations have an annual turnover of over ?10 million a year ($12.3 million), and the total net retail value is estimated to be over ?92 million a year (European Fair Trade Association).

 

Fair Trade values are making their way to the US as American consumers become increasingly concerned about the origin of the products they buy, and aware of the environmental and social footprints of their purchases. This "Fair Trade" movement is growing along the same grassroots lines as the Organics industry, which began as a fringe movement but is now global - and worth $23 billion (2002, Organic Monitor). In 2000, Fair Trade sales in North America totaled $100 million. This figure reached $180 million within two years, with the majority of revenues coming from agricultural products: coffee, tea chocolate and fruit. On its own, the Fair Trade handicrafts market generated $13.8 million in 2002. Fair Trade as a movement is gathering momentum, and we're expecting exponential growth as education and awareness spread.

World of Good Fair Trade Sourcing Criteria

Pay a fair wage, in the local context, to the artisan that crafted the product. World of Good has created a revolutionary Fair Trade Wage Tool this wage. The Wage Tool is available online at.

Purchase from cooperatives, non-profit organizations or directly from the artisans whenever possible. If using an intermediary, ensure that a fair portion goes back to the artisan.

Provide employment without discrimination, and strive to create employment opportunities for women and the most disadvantaged communities.

Ensure that all artisans have access to a safe and clean work environment, whether it is a workshop, a community meeting space, or their own homes.

Guarantee that no child labor is used in production - unless the entire family is involved in the craft and the children are still attending school.

Engage in long-term trading relationships to promote sustainable economies. Increase economic stability by paying 50% up front to underwrite materials and production costs.

Follow environmentally sustainable production practices whenever possible: encourage artisans to select local raw materials, harvest them sustainably and use renewable energy. Avoid processes that require artificial chemicals.

 

Provide technical assistance, market information and product development support to the producers.

Maintain business practices that are open to public scrutiny, and make every effort to be as transparent as possible.

Reinvest a portion of World of Good's profits to support and strengthen the social and economic conditions in the producer communities.

As the standards in the Fair Trade industry are still evolving, these criteria are a work in process. World of Good envisions itself as one of the entities that will help define and create the standards of the industry - in partnership with other organizations and under the guidance of the Fair Trade Federation. If you have any input, questions, or comments let us know - we would love to hear from you. Also, please contact us if you have access to artisan groups that create goods which meet these standards.

 

World of Good is a member of the Fair Trade Federation.

Fair Trade Resources

We are committed to operating our business with transparency while serving the best interest of our artisan communities, retail partners and shoppers like you. As members of the Fair Trade Federation we follow strict standards including paying 50% in advance on all orders, working with cooperatives on production design and providing feedback so artisans can adapt to changing market demands. See below to learn more about the principles of fair trade and other organizations committed to transforming international trade.

Fair Trade Federation (FTF)

FTF is an association of fair trade wholesalers, retailers, and producers whose members are committed to providing fair wages and good employment opportunities to economically disadvantaged artisans and farmers worldwide.

Transfair USA

TransFair USA, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is the only independent, third-party certifier of Fair Trade practices in the United States. Through regular visits to Fair Trade farmer cooperatives conducted by Fairtrade Labeling Organizations International (FLO), and partnerships with US companies, TransFair verifies that the farmers who produced Fair Trade CertifiedT products were paid a fair price. In addition to coffee, TransFair has introduced Fair Trade Certified tea and cocoa to the US market.

Oxfam - Make Trade Fair Campaign

Oxfam International launched a major Make Trade Fair campaign in the spring of 2001. The goals of this campaign are to expose and change the severe inequities that exist in the international trading system

Fairtrade Labeling Organizations International (FLO International)

Based in Germany, FLO International determines what products will be labeled as fair trade. This is done using strict criteria to ensure Fair Trade standards, assess that a Fair Trade label will socially and economically benefit the producer, guarantee a living wage to the producers, and enforce the proper use of Fair Trade labels.

The International Fair Trade Association (IFAT)

The IFAT is a network of Fair Trade Organizations (FTOs) from all over the world. This includes over 220 FTOs in 59 countries. Whether the FTO is a co-operative, export company, wholesaler or retailer, all of IFAT's members share the mission: "to improve the livelihoods and well being of disadvantaged producers by linking and promoting Fair Trade Organizations, and speaking out for greater justice in world trade."

United Students for Fair Trade (USFT)

USFT is a collaboration of American and Canadian students raising awareness of fair trade. These students work with commodities and retail companies, NGOs and producers to inspire consumers to buy fair trade. USFT is involved in over 100 Fair Trade initiatives ranging from small markets to supermarkets and small colleges to medical schools.

Fair Trade Resource Network

The Fair Trade Resource Network's goal is to raise consumer awareness about improving people's lives through Fair Trade alternatives.

organizations we support

World of Good's commitment to fair trade wouldn't be possible without the many organizations and individuals that help us to achieve our goals.

 

We support the organizations and groups below either directly or through our trade partners. If you're interested in working with us to build a World of Good, please contact us.

 

 

 

Aid Through Trade

Aj Quen

Antakarana

Beacon of Hope

De la Selva

Development Wheel

Footloose Tanzania

General Welfare Pratisthan

KNN

La Chamba

Lao Women's Union

Nan Women's Sewing Cooperative

Noah's Ark

Preda Fair Trade

Safrudi

Taxco Women's Jewelry Cooperative

Tesoros Trading Company

Africa

Africa Smiles

Alize Sarl Landy (Alasora, Madagascar)

Bombolulu Workshop (Kenya)

ED Imports (Kenya)

Egypt Crafts (Egypt)

Gone Rural (Swaziland)

John Nyakusengwa (Harare, Zimbabwe)

Kisii artisans (Kisii, Kenya)

Mbare Ltd. (Zimbabwe, Kenya)

Muungano Artists Self Help Group (Kenya)

Nagada Silk Weaving Project (Egypt)

NAWOU (Uganda)

Rabane Emoi (Madagascar)

Rootz Creationz (Durban, South Africa)

Streetwires (Cape Town, South Africa)

Swahili Imports (Kenya, South Africa, Ghana)

Trinity Jewelry (Kenya)

Uganda Crafts (Uganda)

Undugu (Kenya)

Serrv International

Americas

 

Circle of the Sun, Bolivia

Aj Quen Weavers (Guatemala)

ArtCamp (Mexico)

Arte en Mate (Peru)

Artesanos de Pomaire (Chile)

Circle of the Sun (Alto Plano and Central Highlands, Bolivia)

Comparte (Chile)

Cooperative of Cinco Pinos (Nicaragua)

CreArte (Guatemala)

De Colores (Guatemala)

Florentino Quispe (Peru)

Intiwarmi (Bolivia)

Jaime Rosselot (Chile)

Jessica Palacios (Chile)

Jolom Mayaetik (Chiapas, Mexico)

Joyeria Semilla (Colombia)

Madero de Jesus (Chalatenango, El Salvador)

Manos Amigas (Peru)

Mariposa Indigenous Arts (Costa Rica)

Maritza Quintero (Chile)

Maya Traditions (Guatemala)

Mercado Global (Guatemala)

Miguel Salinas (Chile)

No Artisan Group

Other Artisans - Americas

Patricia Gonzalez (Chile)

Piel Acida (Colombia)

Recycled Planet (Brazil)

Reed Basket Weavers (Huanchaco, Peru)

Rene Cerda (Chile)

Rene Oses (Chile)

S.H.A.P.E (Haiti)

Salvarte (Colombia)

San Antonio Palopo Weavers (Guatemala)

Taxco Women's Jewelry Cooperative (Mexico)

Taxco Women's Jewelry Cooperative (Mexico)

Tiendas Campesinas Camari (Ecuador)

UKUSH (Guatemala)

Serrv International

Asia

 

Baskets of Cambodia, Cambodia

Aid Thru Trade (Nepal)

Asha Handicrafts (India)

Au Lac Designs (Vietnam)

Ban Nong Kong (Thailand)

Baskets of Cambodia (Siem Reap, Cambodia)

Chainat Basket (Thailand)

Cheppu Himal (Kathmandu, Nepal)

Conserve (New Delhi, India)

Craftlink (Vietnam)

Deepak Joshi (Nepal)

Dwaraka (India)

Ecofriendly Paper (Sanganer, Rajasthan, India)

Freeset bags (Calcutta, India)

Fuen Fu (Thailand)

Godavari Delta Lacemakers (India)

Handloom Ikat weavers (Indonesia)

HEED Handicrafts (Bangladesh)

Himalayan Healthcare (Nepal)

Independant Artisans (Kathmandu, Nepal)

India Marketplace (India)

Issan Weavers

Kaithun Weavers (Rajasthan, India)

Kala Aparajita (Gujarat and Orissa, India)

Kandahar Trading Company (India)

Kandari (Bali, Indonesia)

Khom Loy Project (Thailand)

KMVS (Kutch, India)

Lanka Jathika Sarvodaya (Sri Lanka)

Lao Women's Union (Laos)

Lao Women’s Union (Vientiane, Laos)

Marusthali Bunker Vikas Samiti (Meghwal, Rajasthan, India)

Maya Organic (Karnataka, India)

Mayadevi Imports (India)

MitraBali (Bali, Indonesia)

MKS (India)

Namm Intertrade (India)

Nan Women's Sewing Cooperative (Thailand)

Nan Women's Sewing Cooperative (Thailand)

Narathiwat Basket (Thailand)

Nazir Creations (Nepal)

NCDP (Cambodia)

Other Artisans - Asia

Padang Coconut (Thailand)

PRADAN (India)

PREDA (Philippines)

Ramona Enterprises (India)

RCC (Cambodia)

Rupalee Exclusifs (India)

Sarwan (Nepal)

Sasha (India)

Sentosa (Cambodia)

Shiva Shakthi (India)

Spiral Foundation (Vietnam and Nepal)

Tara Projects (Gujarat, India)

Teddy Exports (Tamil Nadu, India)

Thai Payap (Thailand)

Thai Tribal Craft (Thailand)

ThaiCraft (Thailand)

Tibet Collection (Nepal & India)

Toucan Krafte (India)

Tribal Fiber (Thailand)

Van Klee (Indonesia)

Vieng Sai Weavers (Laos)

Village Weavers (Thailand)

Volga River Trading Company (Russia)

Wild Boar Creek (Cambodia)

Yak and Yeti (Nepal)

Serrv International

Ten Thousand Villages

World of Good company

 

World of Good Social Impact Report 2006

Download (.pdf, 1.6MB) 

 

The Power to Change the World  |   Economic Sustainability   |   Social Transformation 

 

The Power to Change the World: A message from the CEO

Dear Partners & Friends,

 When most companies close the year, they assess their financial performance and thank their customers for sales. While we definitely succeeded on that dimension this year with over 1,000 retail locations across the United States and 300% sales growth, our far more important impact was increasing the quality of life for thousands of women and children across the globe – and we want to thank you for making that possible.

 

This year as we wrote this report we had the opportunity to hear from hundreds of partners across 34 countries where life is improving as a result of growing fair trade partnerships. For me, the important thing is not only providing employment for the 5,680 artisans who actually craft the beautiful handmade goods, but to also see the inter-generational shift that occurs when the earning power of women increases. Studies have shown that as income increases to more than $2 per day, there are many quantifiable social impacts such as decreased infant mortality, longer life expectancy, and lower health care costs. So knowing that over 22,720 dependents and family members benefited this year is something that will have an lasting impact across hundreds of changing communities.

 

This is also why through World of Good Development Organization (our 501(c)3 sister organization) we have launched the Fair Trade Wage Guide (FTWG), a web based tool to help all companies calculate and pay fair wages. In developing countries, between 60-80% of women comprise the informal sector which includes making products at home, cleaning and/or farming. In these trade environments there is little regulation and almost no negotiating power to prevent exploitation. As U.S. companies increasingly import products made in the informal sector, we need to ensure that these workers are treated fairly. Thanks to the leadership of the team at World of Good Development Organization, the FTWG is becoming a robust tool and an international resource for partner organizations like The International Fair Trade Association. We’ve even had conversations to pursue collaboration with the International Labor Organization.

 

Finally, this year has also led to increasing investments in community development projects around the world. We are now reaching a scale as a company where we can make an additional meaningful impact by supporting socio-economic improvements in some of the villages where our artisan partners live. This year when I went to Kenya I had the chance to hear firsthand how the building of two wells has changed the lives of women who were walking almost three hours a day just to get drinkable water. Thanks to your purchases, a small grant was made and has now transformed the daily lives of these women – allowing them to spend more time with their children as well as doing other productive activities for their families.

 

Everyday, I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to work together to build a new vision of commerce – where the products themselves are the source of good things in the world. Thank you for being a partner in this ambitious endeavor. I think we are unlocking a new future.

 

Priya Haji,

Co-founder & CEO

 

 

Economic Sustainability

In 2006 World of Good worked with 142 artisan groups in 34 countries. Here, we report on just a few of the groups who told us how World of Good was changing their lives by providing regular income, improving their working conditions and increasing the quality of life for their families.

 

 

Shiva Shakthi

 Country: India

Number of Artisans: 35 women

Number of Dependents: 105

Expertise: Sewing and Embroidering

Products Carried by World of Good: Transformation Tote, Inner Reflections, Jump for Joy

 

“To be very honest, Shiva Shakthi is still existing today because of World of Good. We have been training women for about 8 years but could not give them regular employment since we could not find adequate markets for the products. Regular orders from World of Good have meant regular incomes for these women. This has benefited them in so many ways – physically, socially and psychologically. World of Good has understood our motives and have been supporting us because, I guess, they have the same motives – helping the poor. They have also been increasing the volume of orders to us without any requests to reduce prices which I believe is the usual norm in business practices. All I can say at this point is what I often repeat – World of Good has really lived up to its name since they have done us a world of good!”

      - Dr. Uma, Shiva Shakthi

 

 

 

Footloose

 Country: Tanzania

Number of Artisans: 175 (150 women, 25 men)

Number of Dependents: 750

Expertise: Basket Weaving

Products Carried by World of Good: Sweet Success, It Takes a Village, Wonderful Women Weave

 

As a result of working with World of Good, the living conditions of groups we are working with has improved because we pre-paid them and they managed to make many more items than what they have done before. The money was used for school fees and school uniforms so the groups were very committed.”

      - Ndelle and Joyce, Footloose

 

 

Mercado Global

 Country: Guatemala

Number of Artisans: 84 (78 women, 6 men)

Number of Dependents: 546

Expertise: Beading jewelry, sewing and potting

Products Carried by World of Good: Berry Good Bag, Not Just Cosmetic, Delicate Strength, Colors of the Rainbow, Crystal Clear

 

“Earnings from the sale of our products to World of Good were used by artisans primarily to 1) supplement their families’ diets with more nutritious foods, especially fruit and meat which are generally too expensive, 2) cover the cost of sending additional children to school and 3) purchase additional tools and technology for safer, more efficient working conditions.”

      - Ruth DeGolia, Mercado Global

 

 

Social Transformation

Thanks to our fundraising efforts as well as the support of our many volunteers and retailers we were able to raise enough money to fund 8 development grants through World of Good Development Organization , our sister non-profit.

 

Computer Lab

StreetWires (South Africa)

 

This grant provided artisans with access to information, resources and a wider professional network. Artisan Christopher Sandisolo tells us, “I only started appreciating computers when I started learning how to use them after the donation. I can now check my email and I have also subscribed for art and craft articles. I’ve moved from being an ordinary man in the wire and bead industry into an upcoming craft designer.”

 

 

Educational Toys for Preschool

Shiva Shakthi (India) 

 

This grant funded educational toys and equipment for a preschool in this artisan community. The children of the artisans attend the preschool while their mothers embroider pouches, totes and slings nearby.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Medical Equipment

Freeset Bags (India)

 

This artisan group covers the cost of emergency medical care for its artisans. This grant allows Freeset to make non-emergency, regular healthcare accessible by funding the equipment to create an on-site patient examination room for routine check-ups.

 

Water System

Ajquema Cooperative (Guatemala)

 

Hurricane Stan ravaged the water system in the Guatemalan community of Zaput in 2005, leaving the artisans without access to clean drinking water. This grant provides the resources to rebuild and improve the water system that serves the whole community.

 

Furniture for Preschool

Aulac (Vietnam)

 

Artisans in Ha Tay province were awarded this grant to purchase furniture for a preschool in their community.

 

Kindergarten Renovation

Kandari (Indonesia)

 

This grant will fund the purchase of learning materials, playground equipment, bookshelves and art supplies that will support the kindergarten’s curriculum and develop the children’s creativity.

 

Freshwater Wells

Nyabigena (Kenya) 

 

Until 2006, artisans in the Nyabigena soapstone carving community in Kenya had to walk three hours a day to access clean water. With the World of Good Development Organization grant the artisans now have two freshwater wells right in their community. Some have used the time saved to start a community garden and a sewing cooperative.

 

 

W.O.G  - Mission

 

our mission

At World of Good, Inc., we create opportunities for hundreds of artisan cooperatives around the world to share their best work with you by serving as a bridge to the U.S. retail market. We respectfully assist artisans by providing access to fair wages, safe working conditions and long-term economic sustainability. Learn more about the principles of fair trade. We also re-invest 10% of our profits in the artisan communities through our non-profit partner, the World of Good: Development Organization, a 501(c)(3) focused on strengthening standards for handcrafts in the international fair trade industry and also improving the lives of thousands of artisans through community development projects.

 

The mission of World of Good is threefold:

 

To make purchasing Fair Trade artisan products easy for consumers - primarily through bringing Fair Trade options to the mainstream retail market

To help the communities and artisans that create these beautiful products by:

paying a fair wage in the local context

ensuring healthy and safe working conditions within the local context

building long-term trade relationships

encouraging environmentally sustainable practices

providing financial and technical assistance to producers whenever possible

To educate consumers about the benefits of purchasing fair trade products

a good beginning

In our first full year of business last year, World of Good sold over 100,000 handmade items crafted by 133 artisan groups in 31 countries - all of which helped make actual, concrete improvements in the lives of over 2,500 artisans and their families.

 

We created employment for the disabled in Cambodia, and for HIV positive women in Swaziland. We promoted anti-child-labor activism in India, provided Tsunami relief in Sri Lanka and supported educational programs in Guatemala and Nepal.

 

Read our 2006 social impact report. We look forward to having even greater impact in 2007!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can't find what you're looking for? Just want a quick overview? Start here with our frequently asked questions. Enjoy your exploration of a world of good things!

 

What is the mission of World of Good?

World of Good was formed to create a bridge between individuals in the US looking for beautiful and interesting handcrafted products and small artisan organizations around the world who could really benefit from the opportunity to share their handcrafts with the world. Every item on the World of Good kiosk is not only beautiful but also carries with it the promise of economic and social improvement of artisan communities around the world.

 

Who started World of Good? And Why?

World of Good was started in Berkeley, California by Priya and Siddharth, two friends who graduated from the UC Berkeley Business School. Priya Haji, is now the CEO and was motivated to help very low-income women around the world improve their lives through fair trade. She wanted to figure out a way to get their exquisite products to hundreds of amazing stores (like yours) and return the benefit back to the producer communities. Siddharth Sanghvi, VP of Marketing, had a background in marketing and technology and quit his job to work on creating a brand that could connect artisans and consumers and convince shoppers to choose ethically sourced products that would help communities around the world! They were joined by a growing bunch of other smart and caring people who make up the many teams at World of Good and that have partnered to find the best products around the world for your store.

 

How do these products help women around the world?

Sixty to seventy percent of the artisans providing fair trade handcrafted products are women. Often these women are mothers and the sole wage earners in the home. A lot of these products allow the women to work on a very flexible schedule and to capitalize on the limited resources at hand e.g. they can make beautiful crafts from grass and twigs (woven baskets), dirt (clay pots), and from trash (recycled bottlecap purses!). Through their work in Fair Trade craft production, women not only improve the lives of their families, but improve their own lives as well. Many women artisans report that their work has given them self esteem and the opportunity to participate in decision making in their communities. Increased income ensures better nutrition, better schooling for their children, and an improvement in housing and living standards.

 

At the same time, the real challenge for rural craft producers is that they have little access to the formal market to sell their products, or to negotiate fair prices. Often times, they are not well compensated for their work and undervalued - Women are paid 30-40% less than men for comparable work. We want to help fix that!

 

How do you guarantee that the producers are treated well and will really benefit?

World of Good goes through a rigorous process when partnering with new producer groups, and we follow fair trade principles in all our activities.

1. We only work with producer groups that are mission driven and focused on improving the lives of the artisan communities. All of our partners are affiliated with larger social and economic development programs like international Fair Trade organizations, Peace Corps, United Nations Development Program, micro-enterprise programs, etc. We verify the practices of each producer group through one of these partner organizations, or through a site visit.

2. We then screen each individual product to assess for the environmental footprint, the production process, the compensation to the artisans, and the benefit to the community.

 

How does World of Good actually help these organizations?

 

After we screen the organization and their practices and accept the producer group as a partner, we focus on working with the producer group according to fair trade principles.

 

We make a 0% interest loan for 50% of the order to fund the production and pay the balance to the producer when the product lands.

This may not seem important, but most companies pay 30 to 180 days after delivery which means that poor communities that cannot borrow money cannot engage in trade.

We make long term commitments to work with the producer groups and grow with them year over year creating sustainable incomes for artisans

We provide technical assistance and market feedback so the products are always improving and ever changing

We ensure that the artisan producers receive a fair wage in the local context

In addition to all of these commitments World of Good donates 10% of our profits to World of Good Development Organization, which gives grants supporting projects to improve the lives of the artisans and their families in producer communities. To find out more about the initiatives of the non-profit please visit www.worldofgood.org.

 

How do we tell customers about all this?

It is really important for us to share the hope and excitement of these special handmade items with your customers. Every World of Good product has a distinct story tag that tells the reader about the producer group and any special characteristics of the product. The kiosk display and other merchandising material are also designed to help tell the story. We also offer additional detailed information on our website where customers can learn more about our producers and products. On the wholesale website you can also download posters and other support materials that you can put in your store to explain the products.

 

What if a customer knows of a craft producer group that can benefit from partnering with World of Good?

We love suggestions from our customers! Please ask them to go straight to our website and complete the web form at www.worldofgood.com/suppliers with all their information. Remember, we only work with producer groups that meet our mission driven and fair trade requirements. We will screen all the submissions and contact them as soon as possible.

 

What if someone has questions about a particular product or about one of the groups that World of Good works with?

We love questions and we love to hear from our customers. Please let them know that if they go to the World of Good website they can actually find contacts for any person on our team. They can always email info@worldofgood.com or call 510.528.8400. We look forward to talking to them!

 

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