September 29, 2023


Learn Business From Experience

Constructing Neighborhood And Empowering Girls One Bag At A Time

5 min read

The present vogue trade is damaged. For many years, customers have chosen the most recent traits for affordable costs, on the expense of the underpaid, exploited, staff and it doesn’t should be that method. However since 2014, Parker Clay has proven {that a} extra moral and sustainable vogue trade is feasible.

Drawing inspiration from Ethiopia’s cultural heritage, Parker Clay collaborates carefully with native artisans to create premium leather-based items and equipment that mix conventional strategies with trendy design. Their dedication to sustainability is mirrored of their use of Ethiopian full-grain leather-based sourced from environmentally pleasant tanneries, in addition to our efforts to reduce waste and empower communities. Parker Clay’s product vary consists of meticulously handcrafted leather-based luggage, wallets, equipment, and residential items that showcase timeless type and distinctive high quality.

I lately had the possibility to speak with founders Ian and Brittany Bentley about how a dream of theirs become a Licensed B Company that can be a Finest For The World winner, a recognition for being one of many high 10% of B Corps in a sure space. They emphasised that the center of the model is a mission to empower weak ladies in Ethiopia. By way of their partnership with native organizations, they supply coaching and employment alternatives for these affected by human trafficking. By supporting these ladies, they assist break the cycle of poverty and contribute to the betterment of their communities.

For the primary time, Parker Clay is inviting the general public to help its call-to-action by way of Regulation A crowdfunding. A part of the Obama Administration’s JOBS Act, corporations, this regulation permits non-accredited buyers to spend money on personal corporations.

Learn extra under for extra about Parker Clay from my dialogue with Ian and Brittany.

Christopher Marquis: Let’s begin initially, how did Parker Clay start?

Ian Bentley: My spouse and I created Parker Clay in 2014. In 2011, our household visited Ethiopia for the primary time and it was simply us 4 – myself, my spouse Brittany, Parker and Clay (yep, their names got here first). In 2012, Ethiopia turned our house. We adopted our second daughter whereas dwelling in Addis Ababa, the capital metropolis. Whereas dwelling there, we labored with organizations empowering deprived ladies by way of rehabilitation, expertise growth, and job creation. Assembly these ladies and witnessing the transformation that may include only a teaspoon of alternative deeply moved us. We had been impressed to proceed rising this model to have a good time native supplies and Ethiopian craftsmanship and share it with a broader viewers.

Marquis: Are you able to say extra in regards to the services or products Parker Clay gives and what units the model aside?

Brittany Bentley: At Parker Clay, we craft premium leather-based luggage to supply dignified employment and uplift ladies out of exploitation. We offer higher — higher luggage and higher manufacturing to make a greater world. Our merchandise are handmade with full-grain Ethiopian leather-based at our firm’s manufacturing unit in Ethiopia. First, the leather-based is sourced from native tanneries, we then start manufacturing: slicing, stitching, ending, and delivery to our achievement location in Santa Barbara. We personal our total provide chain, which permits us to create a extra sustainable enterprise mannequin.

One factor that makes us stand-out is that we don’t take shortcuts. We obsess over sourcing, stitching, and each final grain of leather-based, leaning into centuries of Ethiopian leather-working custom. Our luggage are constructed not simply to final, however to get higher with age — a declare we’ll again up with our Lifetime Assure. These luggage change lives at each step of their journey.

Brittany Bentley: Parker Clay has additionally been a Certified B Corp since September 2018. assembly the best requirements of verified social and environmental efficiency, transparency and accountability. Now we have additionally gained “Finest for the World” for Neighborhood Affect the previous two years. The method isn’t simple, it’s a prolonged and detailed course of that for a lot of manufacturers ends with out certification, however that is vital because the rigor of the evaluation is what makes the certification so vital. It’s proof that what you say is what you do, and I feel that is some of the vital facets of the B Corp certification. We simply renewed our rating to 112, inserting us on the high of the record by way of leather-based items productions worldwide.

Ian Bentley: And our workers are actually a part of our enterprise. One in every of my favourite recollections is when a lady, now expensive buddy, Meselu got here as much as me at our manufacturing unit in Ethiopia and confirmed me her son’s report card. Her satisfaction and pleasure had been spilling out of her shining eyes – due to her alternative, she had been capable of afford to ship him to high school, and he had obtained straight A’s and was first in his class. It’s such an vital story as a result of it’s not simply the chance for girls, nevertheless it’s remodeling future generations.

Marquis: What’s the long-term strategic imaginative and prescient and mission for Parker Clay?

Brittany Bentley: By way of rising our group and fundraising marketing campaign, we hope to create a long-lasting affect by way of sustainable employment for girls in Ethiopia. We plan to construct new retail shops in a few of our key markets in 2023-2024; we’re tremendous pleased with the expansion we’ve needed to date. We now have retail places in Playa Vista, San Luis Obispo, Denver and naturally our flagship in Santa Barbara. We even have plans for extra wholesale accounts in addition to collaborations with like-minded manufacturers. We simply moved into a brand new manufacturing unit in Ethiopia with room to broaden and we plan on hiring extra ladies.

Ian Bentley: Now we have additionally launched a fundraising marketing campaign that was impressed by the thought of constructing the group. By way of our vertically built-in provide chain, we’re altering the style sport fully and dealing in direction of eliminating quick vogue. This thrilling new chapter for Parker Clay is one thing we would like our clients to be part of. For the reason that starting, we constructed our firm on the foundational proverb that claims, “if you wish to go quick, go alone, if you wish to go far, go collectively.” The crowdfunding felt in keeping with this precept. Now we have constructed a group of consumers who’ve helped scale our affect by buying merchandise. By way of the crowdfunding marketing campaign, we need to supply not only a product however the alternative for a monetary return. By democratizing the funding course of clients can actually make investments the place their values are.

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