We do things a little backward.
There is a lot of talk about sustainability in the sense of ecological production and consumption. That is great, but what about us? The people who live on this planet. We talk about respecting others but somehow this is all forgotten. Unfortunately also in fashion industry. Shouldn't we just treat other people always with respect?
When we started Store of Hope, it all started with the idea where we wanted to create equal work opportunities for skilled artisans around the world who didn't have a place to work. Our starting point was the producer, not the product. Instead of looking for needs or gaps in the demand, we began looking for needs and gaps in humanity. Our hearts settled on Nepal where the quality of life is still very poor compared to the living standard we have here in the Nordic countries. It was time to start forming relationships with the skilled artisans. This is what we call backward business.
When we are looking for new artisans to work together with, it is often because we need people who have certain skills that our existing partners can’t provide. For our newest jewelry pieces, we wanted to create long lasting styles from silver, so we needed to find a talented silversmith who could provide us something that we can't get from anywhere else. Luckily with the connections that we already have in Nepal we found what we were looking for.
Meet Pariyar, the silversmith. The real-life example of backward business like we do it at Store of Hope. He has a wife and two children who go to college and speak fluent English. Sounds pretty familiar right? But this family has had many obstacles in their life. Some because of their health issues and some because of the current state in Nepal.
Pariyar’s family has had a rough path. The mother of the family has had severe health problems that almost killed her. The latest struggle was when they lost their home in the earthquake. Today they live in this two room shelter where Pariyar works as well. They don’t have a toilet or a bathroom. They didn’t have a lot before, but losing their home this time made it even harder for them because Pariyar also lost all his tools that he needs for working. He is the sole provider of the family so sustained income is crucial for him. His priority is that the kids can stay at school so that they would have a better chance to create their own future.
In Nepal the caste system has officially ended but it still affects heavily on the everyday life of many. This family belongs to the lower caste and that creates problems for the kids at school. Caste system affects the people in Nepal in many ways. It creates discrimination, it gives you a status at school and in the community giving one opportunities or limiting them.
We at Store of Hope, want to create a better life for people in need. A life where they have a change to dream about their future just like we do. This is why we don’t own any factories. The people we have the privilege to work with are working as entrepreneur's with a full command of their own life & business. What we do offer is a fair compensation for their work. Fair meaning that we calculate that the compensation from ones work does not only give them enough to get basic needs met - but enough to build a better future. It is quite common in Nepal that the entrepreneurs do not get compensation for the raw materials used in the production because the buyer brings the raw material with them. Sense, our mission is to create work for these people, we are not only paying the raw materials but also the work that is required to find it. Sounds logical? Yes, but it is not like this in many occasions. It would be awesome if the situation of this family would improve because the orders coming from you, the Store of Hope customers - the real Everyday World Changers.
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