Born and raised in the hustle of New York City, I grew up with business talk being a fixture at the dinner table. Naturally, I decided to pursue a degree in Economics while at Lehigh University. I had my sights on Wall Street and living in the Big Apple, until a chance visit to Hawaii after graduation. That vacation quickly turned into 13 amazing years living amongst a new culture. While there, I became passionate about supporting my local community and working in the non-profit sector. During those years, I repeatedly turned my passions into businesses, including, but not limited to, a women’s handbags company and a skin care line for ocean athletes.
Then, a little over three years ago I got a new entrepreneurial itch to start a social enterprise that combined my passion for poverty alleviation with my hobby for international travel and experiencing remote cultures. The Base Project was born. In my work with The Base Project I have done everything from building Fair Trade partnerships with the oldest tribes in Southern Africa, to selling our jewelry into with the largest retailers in the USA. My responsibilities are focused on running operations, working with artisan groups in Africa and The Middle East, and launching community development projects.
I believe that social enterprise will one day be the normative way of doing business, not merely the model of a select few practitioners. I am personally excited to be part of the early social enterprise movement and want to help it grow across the globe in the next 20 years.
The Base Project (TBP) is an ethical fashion company working with artisans to make jewelry for the global fashion market. All of our jewelry is inspired by the artisans’ traditional culture and craft. We employ artisans in low-income countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East to create Fair Trade employment that alleviates poverty. Additionally, we reinvest profits into community development projects (community farms, scholarships, health funds) in the artisans’ region. Over 3 years ago we began working with marginalized artisans in Southern Africa, then expanded to West Africa, and most recently began working with artisans in the Middle East.
We have amazing success to date. TBP products are sold in 200+ retail stores in over a dozen countries across America, Asia, and Europe. We sell to leading boutiques, Nordstrom, Holt Renfrew, and Urban Outfitters to name a few. TBP has appeared in over 50 media outlets, from Glamour magazine to Forbes and the LA Times. We believe in our motto to ‘Wear Your Impact!’
This loan will specifically help The Base Project develop a new line of jewelry with our newest artisans partners, female Syrian refugees now living in Jordan. We have made significant progress establishing a working relationship with this talented group of artisans and are now ready to bring our new jewelry line to market. While new product developments such as these directly grow our sales and profit, one of our biggest challenges is financing the cost.
We expect this loan to impact our company by:
1. Increasing sales and profit margins.
2. Garnering media coverage on the people and cultural story behind the product. Topical because of the Syrian refugees crisis.
3. Further fulfilling our social mission of employing more artisans to alleviate poverty.
4. Serving as a pilot project that will expand to additional artisans in emergency contexts.
This loan will impact the artisans we work with by:
1. Providing much-needed wages.
2. Providing meaningful and purposeful work.
3. Highlighting their craft and cultural traditions to a global audience.
4. Jewelry sales will also fund a community project for the artisans and their families.
With a $10,000 loan:
1. $4,750 will pay for inventory, artisan wages for production, and training.
2. $1,500 will pay for jewelry components, new production tools + equipment.
3. $2,500 will pay for marketing, exhibit at trade show, packaging, and graphic design.
4. $1,250 will pay for international shipping to and from the Middle East.
*** Perks for Lenders: ***
We would like to offer all our lenders a PERK for supporting us. Everyone who loans can get 20% off any online purchase. Use discount code ‘kivazip’ at thebaseproject.com