One my favorite magazines that I’ve blogged about before is World Pulse. It’s this fabulous collection of stories and articles about women’s issues worldwide. It’s unlike any other women’s magazine I’ve ever read, being globally-minded and focused on the most positive aspects of what women are doing worldwide.
This latest issue focuses on new economic models from women visionaries, including those in the fair trade movement. A number of the issue’s articles are available online but you have to get the print edition to read the full issue, including the excellent fair trade article.
The fair trade article, entitled Unraveling Women’s Fair Trade, takes a hard look at the model of fair trade company such as mine at Bambootique and how difficult it is to make such companies sustainable not to mention profitable. I know first-hand how difficult that is. Thankfully Bambootique has been financially sustainable (i.e. broken even) since day one, but the profitable side for the most part is still a future hope and dream. This is the reality for many similar companies for a whole host of reasons. The market is certainly there for our products and it’s rapidly growing, but there are so many challenges too. They include scale (we can be inefficient because we are so small), shipping and customs costs, the communication difficulties related to working with small groups of women often working in remote areas, getting our products to market, etc. The article points out that the joy of running such a business and knowing how much good we are doing far outweighs the challenges, at least for many in this industry. And many of us are getting more sustainable and more profitable, both business owners and artisans, as the market grows and our businesses get stronger.
Look for the latest issue of World Pulse on a newstand near you. I know I’ve seen it in the Portland area at Powell’s, Borders and natural food stores like Whole Foods.