FASHIONABLE // THE MIRIAM COLLECTION
“In my experience, poor people are the world’s greatest entrepreneurs. Every day, they must innovate in order to survive. They remain poor because they do not have the opportunities to turn their creativity into sustainable income.”
– Muhammad Yunus, author of Creating a World Without Poverty
Charity is critical. Its importance lies in giving relief to those who are in great destitution from what are often unbearable circumstances. At the same time, giving food, medical care, clothing, and other charity to the poor should be the beginning point, and not an endpoint, to the solutions to poverty. It is widely known that if we are to end extreme poverty, two things must happen. One, we must create jobs for those lacking opportunity, and two, we must do so for women. This is the piece of the puzzle that FASHIONABLE seeks to be a part of.
To be clear, FASHIONABLE is not a charitable model of business. We believe that generational poverty is interrupted when people can provide for themselves. We believe that social businesses whose aim is to alleviate poverty should use their business skills to create job opportunities for the poor, not give them more charity. What we seek to “give” to those living in poverty is opportunity by purchasing goods from them, and helping those businesses grow and employ more.
Our business model is not creating goods in a strong economic country, selling those goods in the West, and then giving charity to developing countries. This still leaves the developing country out of the opportunity for economic growth, and keeps them in a cycle of dependency. We believe in doing the manufacturing in the communities we wish to have impact, so as to create jobs. Although it often creates a unique set of challenges, trade with developing countries is an empowerment model that we are committed to.
In the Fall of 2015 we were pleased to add the LOCAL component of our work and mission, creating opportunity for women in Nashville who have overcome challenges from homelessness to prostitution to addiction. The addition of the Miriam Collection of jewelry has already provided 5 full-time jobs at our offices in Nashville, with plans to continue to grow and expand in 2016.