"wait. so are you a non-profit? or a for-profit?"
that's a question i have gotten a lot. and this question serves to reinforce the common mentality about the mutual exclusivity of these two spheres.
non-profits & for-profits.
you do good. or you make money.
and right now, that is about how it works. some companies make money. and then do some good with the profit.
but let me tell you, doing good and making money at the same time is hard. largely because of the dichotomy our society has constructed. choose one: do good or make money.
let me shoot straight with you. the way Sseko Designs runs is pretty inefficient. from our production process, to our supplies and by golly the logistics of producing in a country that...doesn't really produce. in order to use this business to fulfill our end goal of getting these young women in college, we have to make a lot of decisions that increase our costs, our production time, our frustration.
one solution: send our business to china. manufacture these sandals for 1/10th of the cost. send a portion of the money back to Uganda.
why not? making money...then doing good.
but that is not where our heart is. our heart is in integrating these two things.
the primary goal of a business is to make money, to increase value for shareholders. and you know what? that is not at all a bad thing. our world wouldn't work, we wouldn't have medicine and food and roofs if investors didn't invest in people who had a loyalty to these shareholders.
and up until this point, it has been this loyalty, the loyalty to maximizing profits that keeps the bottom line as the reigning king.
but what if we lived in a place where the story of a product increased it's value enough to counteract the costs of doing business in a way that is socially proactive?
what if the excitement of buying a product that directly changes lives was a greater benefit than the higher costs incurred in the way we do business?
what if the word of mouth benefit that comes with a socially proactive business was exponentially greater than the cost of traditional advertisements?
what if our society valued products that have a story, that contribute to communities, that were made in a way that gives honor and dignity to those making them enough that in fact, we were increasing the value of our product and fulfilling our loyalty to shareholders, while doing good?
well then, we would live in a world where companies like Sseko Designs would have millions of brothers and sisters in the family of Not-Just-For-Profit business. We would be one in a sea of others seeking to identify needs around the world, and seeking to fulfill those needs, to change the world by creating socially proactive, sustainable, creative businesses, with the purpose of improving lives.
we want to sell sandals. we want to see these young women become the leaders of their countries.
we also want you to join us by supporting Sseko Designs and making socially proactive and not-just-for-profit businesses become the status quo.
we want to change the way you see your "stuff."
all "stuff" has a story. be aware and proud of the story behind your stuff.