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Where We Are: a note from Barrett.


Hey everyone, I wanted to give you an update on how everything is going with fashionABLE. Of course, our greatest achievement will always be how many girls we are working with that were formally in tragic and vulnerable situations. From our launch date on October 25, 2010, we have gone from working with 3 to 25 women! We couldn't be more grateful to be involved in this work. Visiting Ethiopia I went in January with Jordan Duncan and Jimmy Needham and had an amazing trip. I hadn't been in over a year since we had adopted our second daughter, Lena. Here is a picture of her and her big sister Howie – they are perfect. PERFECT. ward girls When we arrived at the fashionable offices, we were greeted with a small parade of all the women shouting Ethiopian chants of joy. We were overwhelmed to say the least. A particularly wonderful moment for me was meeting Fekerete, as I've heard her story from friends there. She is still working in the program of rehabilitation – here is a part of her unimaginable story: At 15 she ran away from home after all of her siblings died from chickenpox and her mother committed suicide. She tried to support herself, but felt unable. Feeling left with no choice, she went to a club and was put up for auction as a virgin, and the highest bidder raped her. This was the moment she became trapped in the sex industry. She is now in the Women at Risk program, learning job skills and gaining confidence, as she provides for herself and her son. Business model From a business model standpoint, as demand has grown greatly, we have had to look at ways to meet demand outside of just working with the women. All the while, we are sticking to our core philosophy and understanding that the solutions to poverty are largely in trade, and not aid, to Africa. With this being the backbone, we are forming contracts with other factories where we require that they have fair wages and fair hiring practices with women. This intervention is exciting to us, because it gives us a new and powerful way to raise the social consciousness towards the equal rights of women. Sales Well, our sales were extraordinary in 2012. Thanks to the Hallmark channel, ONE moms, Influence Conference, hundreds of bloggers, and many other people lending their voice to fashionABLE, we exceeded our sales projections so greatly that we ran out of inventory on December 14. This also led to some serious stress on our fulfillment department, and there were times that we underperformed in timely shipping. As a staff, we were deeply saddened by this, because we're in this gig to make people happy! As such, we have worked hard since the holiday season to refine our fulfillment processes… and also our projection systems! Hopefully, we will have stock for this spring for a couple more months, but orders have been flying in again at a rapid pace beyond expectations. We’ll call it a good problem to have. Thank you all for your support. Because of each individual that has raised their voice for these women, we truly know that we are all in this together. Barrett Ward [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="344"] Jordan, Meselu & her son Eyob, Barrett[/caption]