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Jun 9, 2015 2:29 EST

Mushmina – an accessories brand and retail store of global fair trade fashion with a social mission of employing artisans in developing countries

iCrowdNewswire - Jun 9, 2015

 

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Personal Story

I discovered at an early age that I had a passion for art and fashion. I have always sought outlets for creative expression; whether scouring my grandmother’s attic for textiles or traveling the globe for fulfilling experiences and inspiration.

I grew up in New Jersey and moved to Philadelphia in college to attend The University of the Arts. I have a degree in crafts (jewelry and textile design) and have always been interested in cultural anthropology and the traditional techniques of artisans. I traveled to Mali and Morocco upon graduating from college and there the idea to start a business to employ artisans sparked. I am passionate about textiles, traditional techniques, and sharing the beautiful craft of talented artisans globally. My sister left a design career in NY to work as a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco helping rural weavers with export and small business development. We gave a product development training together and discussed creating a business to employ and empower artisans that had limited access to international markets. We are interested in creating a global exchange of ideas and the opportunity to develop relationships cross culturally.

Today I am the co-founder and creative director of Mushmina, a global fashion brand with a social mission. My love and passion are studying the artisan traditions, stories, and cultural anthropology in each of the regions we work. I plan to continue designing custom collections with artisans globally. I do the research and steer the vision to include other sustainable and global brands in our shops as we expand our product line.

Last year I had an idea to create a mobile boutique in a Volkswagen bus. I am excited to say that we recently completed the renovation of our 1974 Westphalia bus which will serve as a Mushmina traveling pop-up shop promoting our products.

Business Description

Mushmina is an accessories brand and retail store of global fair trade fashion with a social mission of employing artisans in developing countries. We custom design our line of handbags, jewelry, and scarves and work in collaboration with over 85 artisans in Morocco to produce our collection. Using traditional techniques in combination with Western design, Mushmina’s products bridge the gap of craft and western fashion.

In an age of fast fashion it is difficult for customers to know where to purchase items that are socially responsible and sustainable. At a mid-range price point, we are not fast fashion and our customers are educated women between 30-65 willing to pay for products that reflect integrity and authenticity.

I started the business with my sister in 2009 as a way to share artisan craft on a global scale. We opened our first retail shop in Philadelphia in 2012 and have recently expanded our boutique to a new location in Wayne, PA.

Our stores offer unique diversified collections of fair trade, handmade, and sustainably produced fashion along with the Mushmina brand. We provide our customers with an educated shopping experience that enables them to contribute to our social mission of employment, empowerment and education while taking home a fashionable product.

Our future vision is retail expansion. Our goal is to open multiple locations in order for Mushmina to be recognized as a global retailer and pioneer of sustainable fashion. Our challenge as we position ourselves for growth is marketing; spreading the word about our brand and mission.

We are proud to be the recipients of a FedEx small business grant and also recognized as Goldman Sachs 10,000 small business scholars. Along with the many individuals and communities that benefit from our work, Mushmina opened the Flying Camel Women’s Training Center in 2013 to employ, empower, and educate women in rural Morocco. Morocco has a great need for access to basic education, literacy, and vocational training, -particularly for women. The Flying Camel Center was Mushmina’s first pilot project and provided classes and workshops for women in sewing, pattern-making, and literacy. We would like to partner with local and international NGOs to continue to support the education and literacy of women in Morocco; the creation of centers where women can learn new skills and also have access to work in order to gain financial independence.

Please watch our FedEx Small Business video for more information about our social enterprise, Mushmina
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFf8w7lBrmU

What is the purpose of this loan?

The purpose of this loan is to finance equipment and inventory for our new boutique. We are positioning ourselves for growth and see the need to better equip our office and in-house photography studio. Our focus is on retail expansion including online sales. We expect our retail sales to increase on average 90% with the help of professional photography to drive e-commerce on our website and additional inventory and product selection for our stores.

Our budget:
$2099 on 2 new computers for our office
$895 for new display fixtures
$900 for photography equipment to help take in-store photos of merchandise in order to expand our online sales
$6106 in additional inventory financing
total: $10,000

With this loan and the growth of our business we hope to be able to hire additional employees in the Philadelphia area and also to employ additional artisans who work on our collection abroad.

Contact Information:

Katie

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