DATA

THE PROS:

The brand combines economic empowerment with education to drive long-term sustainable impact to the lives of artisans, their families, and communities. They pool profits from sales, grants and donations and use them to fund business and leadership education programs for the female artisans.

The brand guarantees that people in their supply chain make a living wage. Learn about how they calculate it under the Social tab.

The brand wrote and developed educational programs for their artisan groups. The program presents innovative tools for fostering business growth, economic development, and social progress in the communities they work in. These programs empower artisans with the skills they need to better run and grow their businesses and become empowered entrepreneurs and change-makers.

THE CONS:

The brand doesn’t use any renewable energy and hasn’t measured its carbon footprint.

/ Indego Africa was founded in 2007 by father and son duo, Tom and Matt Mitro. The Mitros lived in Africa for 11 years while Matt was growing up and were continually struck by the incredible talent and entrepreneurial spirit of the artisan women they met there. They were also struck by a glaring problem: these women, despite their remarkable skills, were living in abject poverty – struggling to get by without markets to sell their goods or the education needed to run their businesses. Indego Africa was created to address these issues of access and opportunity.

/ The brand combines economic empowerment with education to drive long-term sustainable impact to the lives of artisans, their families, and communities. They pool profits from sales, grants and donations and use them to fund business and leadership education programs for the female artisans.

/ The brand sells its products online, through boutiques, and through collaborations with designers and brands including J.Crew, Anthropologie, and Eileen Fisher.

/ The brand has 12 employees, 30 suppliers, and 1,000 artisans working in their supply chain.

/ The brand is a certified member of the Fair Trade Federation.

/ The brand communicates a list of countries and a list of artisans groups they work with; the brand works with 22 artisan groups in Rwanda and 8 artisan groups in Ghana.

/ The brand states that they can trace their entire supply chain.

/ Each year, the brand conducts a comprehensive social impact assessment – collecting quantitative and qualitative data on the ongoing progress of their artisan partners and publishing the results on their website.

 

/ To ensure that the cooperatives and businesses they work with run their business fairly and equitably, the brand undertakes a strict on-boarding process and continues to monitor and assess their partners:

  • The brand employs local teams in both Rwanda and Ghana that are deeply embedded in the communities and visit their partner groups day in day out to place product orders, conduct quality control, and implement educational programs.
  • The brand’s local teams have constant dialogue with their partners and would quickly be aware if there was any unethical activity.
  • The brand runs educational programs to instruct partners in good organizational governance, and empower all members to partake in and improve the management of their artisan groups.

/ The brand guarantees that people in their supply chain make a living wage.

/ In calculating a living wage, the brand takes into account the local living wage, the cost of goods sold, the estimated revenue, and an amount of hourly income that respects the artisan’s labor and time.

/ The brand uses a range of natural raw materials sourced locally in Rwanda and Ghana. These include sweetgrass, banana leaf, bolga straw, recycled tin, upcycled cowhorn, and palm leaf.

/ The brand communicates that there is minimal water usage in the creation of their products; their partners use water to dye sweetgrass, banana leaf, and textiles but do not use large quantities and are meticulous about using proper measurements in the process.

/ The brand partners with several groups that use recycled materials in the production process including recycled tin in Rwanda and recycled tin in Ghana.

/ The brand seeks to reduce waste by repurposing scrap fabrics and other leftover materials.

/ The brand doesn’t use any renewable energy and hasn’t measured its carbon footprint.

/ The brand is a certified member of the Fair Trade Federation.

/ The brand identifies as a social enterprise and a lifestyle brand dedicated to empowering female artisans in Africa.

/ The brand offers specialized, holistic workshops throughout the year to address partner specific needs. These workshops include: physical therapy, breast cancer awareness, savings & loans, cervical cancer awareness, and sexual health.

 

/ The brand’s CEO is Karen Yalik. According to IRS 2014 filing, the CEO compensation was $26,317.

/ The brand wrote and developed educational programs for their artisan groups. The program presents innovative tools for fostering business growth, economic development, and social progress in the communities they work in. These programs empower artisans with the skills they need to better run and grow their businesses and become empowered entrepreneurs and change-makers.

/ Each year, the brand conducts a comprehensive social impact assessment – collecting quantitative and qualitative data on the ongoing progress of their artisan partners and publishing the results on their website.

/ To ensure the financial independence, sustainability, and functioning of the cooperative, the brand pays the cooperative 50% of the entire order up front. This allows them to purchase raw materials and have income prior to the completion of the product.

VOICES

JACQUELINE MUSABYIMANA | PARADE

“I also learned to make products through different designs. Today, I am among the people in charge of coming up with new designs in the cooperative.  Indego Africa has been like a parent to me. What I didn’t learn from my own parents, I learned from Indego Africa. In the future, I plan to start my own business, so all the trainings I am receiving now will help me when that time comes. It is important because it has educated me on a number of things not just about business but also health. I feel that I can also pay it forward by educating others about what I have learned.”4/6/2015

 

 

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