WHY DO YOU FOCUS ON WOMEN?
Statistics show that 70% of the world’s poorest are women and that they are generally given fewer opportunities than men. Statistics also show that investing in a woman can have a tremendous impact not only within her immediate family but also within her extended community. It is our hope that by providing sustainable employment opportunities and job training skills to the women in our partnerships, entire communities will be transformed.
HOW DID RAVEN + LILY BEGIN?
Some people think that in order to start a company, you need tons of money or tons of connections. Raven + Lily is proof that that just isn’t the case. Determination, will power, and a good idea is what you need!
In 2008, a group of us traveled to India to visit various development projects. What struck us was the high level of craftsmanship and skill that went into each of the products that were being made. But what they were lacking was design guidance, consistency, and a market to sell their goods. This was a common dilemma amongst all the groups we visited. With our backgrounds in marketing and design, we saw an opportunity to partner with these women through combining our experience with their skills.
With no outside funding, we were able to launch our initial partnerships through volunteer parties with designer friends. We all came together and started making products from donated remnant materials to raise funds for getting the partnerships started. After a few years of operating alongside a non-profit, Raven + Lily was able to launch as a social business model in 2011.
HOW ARE YOU A SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE BRAND?
Every product we design is seen from a larger prospective that not only has to be an awesome product that we would want to use or wear, but the fruition of it cannot be at the expense of the environment or people. We use recycled and repurposed goods whenever possible, and endeavor to have a clear supply chain all the way to the origin of the materials that make up our products.
In addition to providing sustainable, fair-wage employment to our artisans, we reinvest all of our profits into the social mission of the company: employing marginalized women through design, launching new partnerships, and funding educational and healthcare needs in our partnership community.
We are always happy to answer additional questions you may have, so feel free to e-mail us: firstname.lastname@example.org
HOW DOES RAVEN + LILY PRACTICE FAIR TRADE?
Fair Trade is a system of exchange that honors producers, communities, consumers, and the environment. It is a model for the global economy rooted in people-to-people connections, justice, and sustainability. We are members of the Fair Trade Federation and to learn more about fair trade standards, we recommend reading this hand out about the principles of fair trade: http://www.fairtradefederation.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Principles_halfpage.pdf
WHO DESIGNS YOUR PRODUCTS?
Our designs come from three different platforms: In-house Raven + Lily designers, professional designers that contract with, and our artisan partnership designers. Our goal one day is to have women that are fully trained in design and production so that they can operate a successful business independent of Raven + Lily.
MUCH OF YOUR JEWELRY IS MADE FROM RECYCLED BULLET CASINGS. HOW IS THAT DONE AND HAS IT BEEN TESTED FOR LEAD?
To see the process of our metal jewelry being made, check out the Ethiopia: How It's Made page.
And yes, it has been tested! From working with the artisans, we learned that there is actually no lead in the metal bullet casings themselves. But as a precaution we have had all the bead styles we use tested for lead content by expert labs in the US, and all of our pieces meet the correct standards.
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH YOUR NAME?
After contemplating the words for a company name, we knew we wanted something that would capture the beauty and dignity of the women in our partnerships. We were inspired by Luke 12, where God says that we shouldn't worry about what we will eat or drink because He cares for the ravens and we are so much more valuable than birds. He also says to look at how beautiful the lilies are yet they are here today and gone tomorrow and how much more valuable we are than flowers. We feel that the value God sees in His creation, including ravens and lilies, reminds us how much more valuable we are as women.
HOW OFTEN DO YOU VISIT YOUR ARTISANS?
We visit new partnerships more often than established ones, but it is always at least once or twice a year. We use this time to evaluate how things are going, develop new designs, and connect our volunteers on ambassador trips. With our headquarters being in the US, we depend heavily on our in-country directors; we are in constant communication with them about everything from the well-being of the artisans to production schedules and deadlines.
DO YOU HAVE ANY SPECIAL CERTIFICATIONS, MEMBERSHIPS, OR AWARDS?
Yes, we do! We are Ethical Fashion Forum Fellowship 500 Members and National Winners of the Classy Awards in 2012 for Philanthropic Business of the Year. Our company is a certified B Corporation; to check out our qualifications, check out our profile here. We are also verified by the Fair Trade Federation and many of our partnerships have their own World Fair Trade Organization memberships.