Horror stories of sweat shops and child labour factories have lead us to frequently question where our clothes are coming from and how they are being made. In the past five years a variety of ethical labels and shops have sprung up across the globe.
Despite this surge of ethical abundance in retail, a lot of us are still not making enough thoughtful purchases. We may be buying into the idea of shopping for a better world, but are we really? Research shows that spending on ethical food and drink have sky rocketed in the past five years, although spending on ethical fashion has increased the numbers don’t measure up. Why is that? A lot of people seem to be singing the same song. Shopping ethically means sacrificing aesthetically.
Women Worldwide, an ethical e-shopping platform that launched in 2014 presents collections of beautiful accessories and artisan designed by women from five of the seven continents. It is where design meets ethics.
One of the first companies in the UK to create an international network for women’s designs coming from: Guatemala, Peru, Ecuador, India, Swaziland, Kenya, Cambodia, China, Vietnam, the US and the UK, the platform provides women the opportunity to be financially independent, creative and connected. “It’s really a social movement,” says Susan Ma, founder of Women Worldwide.
Private investigator turned ethical entrepreneur, Ma, decided to turn her life into an avenue where she would find happiness and fulfilment in her career. Before embarking on her journey she thought to herself, “I’m doing what my parents did and I don’t feel fulfilled.” Then she started to ask herself critical questions about what would make her feel fulfilled. “When you ask yourself all the right questions that’s where all the ideas start springing from,” she adds.
“I wanted to make a positive contribution to society, but never actively did. My passion has been women, but I’ve never vocalized it or did anything about it. So there was a point in my life where I thought of what I could do that was practical for me with my skill sets. I used to be an investigator, which meant that I was good at project managing and solving problems,” she explains.
After taking a pause and reflecting on her passions and skills, and with the help and counsel of her life coach Jodechi Morton, she developed a concept that she thought would be the best way to actively impact women’s lives globally. “The best way to help the female cause is to be able to put money in their pockets,” she says. From here Women Worldwide was born. “I called it Women Worldwide because it was; it would help women everywhere because women need help everywhere.”
Today the platform features a variety of intricate and beautiful accessories and decorations made by women from diverse cultures. For example Quazi Designs, jewelry made from recycled paper by women in Swaziland. “They do not have a lot of resources, so they are being resourceful by using what is available to them and then turning it into something really special,” says Ma enthusiastically.
By buying the products from the designers featured on the online shop, Ma directly impacts the lives of these women. By treating ourselves, friends and family to the unique and elegant designs, we continue this positive chain of sustainable empowerment that Ma has created.
For some well deserved holiday shopping visit: womenworldwide.org
To volunteer your time and skills get in touch with the team at: firstname.lastname@example.org