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Our company sourceFK is the perfect combination of my non-traditional background (international development, policy and business) with my passion (fashion for a cause). Coming from an unusual mix of work background working at the World Bank and Verizon among others, and growing up in Africa and Asia, I developed an ability to see patterns in seemingly unconnected things and forge connections in unlikely places. For years, I had been drawn to the artisans in Bangladesh who created the most breath-taking silks and cottons, all on a handloom using no electricity and only their creative energy. Yet, they did not have a market for their amazing goods and many artisan families had fallen into poverty.
In 2011, we launched sourceFK – an innovative company with a social mission, addressing systemic poverty by using fashion as a platform for development and change. We partner with Asian women artisans and connect them to global markets, training & education. sourceFK is a global socially-conscious brand – one that reflects a new vision of luxury that involves human hands not technology, respect for the environment and decency in employment.
Since inception, sourceFk has been self-funded. Clearly this is not a sustainable model, and we are now seeking grants and funding to grow the business, employ more artisans and take the company to the next level.
To drive growth in 2013, we are focusing on diversifying products, extending the number of retail relationships and pursuing funding opportunities.
There are so many resources on social entrepreneurship! Given the global focus of sourceFK, I look towards sources like the United Nations and their work on the Millennium Development Goals, magazines focused on entrepreneurship like Inc. and Entrepreneur, and most importantly – mentors I have cultivated along the way!
85 Broads is a global networking group that I have been a part of since they started back in the 90s. It’s an amazing group of women who have come together to learn from and share experiences with each other. It offers webinars, info sessions and superb networking opportunities! I highly recommend joining this group. There are also a number of excellent social entrepreneurship conferences held throughout the tear that are great to attend to learn and network – Harvard, UN Social Innovation Forum, etc.
Our biggest challenge is funding. We have developed plans for expansion of the current programs as well as new ones in the future – all of which require a steady stream of funding. I’d be very interested to learn more about the grant and funding programs that are out there. Also, I’d love to reach out to and connect with other women who are leading similar companies to learn what’s worked for them and what has not.
Thank you for this fantastic opportunity on EmpowerLounge!