This week I am writing about a group of social entrepreneurs who started an apparel company called Someone Somewhere. Their apparel consists of traditional Mexican designs blended into modern western clothing. These entrepreneurs, driven by social impact, are working with indigenous communities in Mexico and introducing their traditional manufacturing methods to the rest of the world. Their value proposition “clothes that are good both for the people who buy them as well as for the people who make them”, highlights the importance of sustainability and the essence of social enterprise, where social impact and income generation together play an essential role in the success of a company.
Someone Somewhere works with the indigenous group by providing them with the designs and materials to produce quality clothing that can be sold at higher prices than their traditional products would. With shirts averaging $30 dollars, the artisans get a higher return on their products.
The company is tackling an issue present since colonial times, and that now threatens millions of indigenous people in Mexico.
According to a report on the “Ability of Impoverished Artisans to Generate a Sustainable Income” by the Mexican National Fund for the Promotion of Artisan Crafts, two types of artisans emerged out of colonial times.
On one hand, there are artisans who inherited large workshops and infrastructure, and therefore the ability to mass produce. These artisans produce the arts and crafts that you find across the country in tourist spots. On the other hand, there’s the type of artisans that moved to isolated communities and continued with traditional manufacturing processes. Sadly for the second group, their craft provides just enough to get by.
Someone Somewhere connects a group of isolated artisans with the world. Their innovative products combine tradition and technology in a project that delivers social impact. The artisans that work with the company earn on average 50% more than they did on their own. They now have financial security and the ability to plan for their future and escape the cycle of poverty. Furthermore, they have managed to empower the most marginalized demographic in Mexico, women. By working with female artisans the company strengthens their role in communities and helps them provide for their families.
The challenge they are facing is complicated, according to the company’s website, 7 million artisans in Mexico leave under poverty. Under their current system, artisans work together to deliver high volume orders, creating stronger community bonds. Therefore, as demand for the products increase, there will be a need for more artisans groups to collaborate. The company currently works with 150 artisans and there is area to scale the project.
It is foolish to think that one company can single-handed solve the problems that we as a society have failed to do. Which is why I believe that there is a need for more social entrepreneurs in Mexico to tackle one of the biggest challenges the country faces.
If you have any questions feel free to contact me.