Women supporting women. There’s been a lot of support for this simple idea of late, and we’re proud to both demonstrate that attitude toward other women ourselves, and to support those who are growing the idea in some really gorgeous ways… Whether it’s standing up against mean girls, taking charge of our negative thoughts, paying forward a single word of encouragment or simply reminding each other that we are ‘that girl,‘ we love to see women caring for other women.
The team at Darling Magazine shares our fascination – they tracked down Carly Burson of Tribe Alive, who is demonstrating that women for women attitude on a whole other level. An incredibly inspiring social entrepreneur, Carly has taken on fast fashion with a vengeance and launched an ethical fashion brand that is touching women’s lives across the globe. (We love Carly’s observation that touching the life of one woman actually touches the lives of a hundred women.)
Here are our friends at Darling and their chat with Carly…
The wave of ethical-fashion and socially conscious companies continues to rise, which is something that we can’t encourage more. We love highlighting these brands, not only because we can feel good about spending wisely, but also because we get the opportunity to connect with the hearts of founders who have been so moved by experience that they’ve been willing to reorient their entire lives to improving the lives of others.
One such women is Carly Burson. After holding her adopted Ethiopian daughter in her arms, Carly was struck by how often circumstances prevent a woman from being able to care for her child. Carly has since made it her mission to create full-time jobs and to instill confidence and hope in women through Tribe Alive, a marketplace where jewelry, accessories, weekender bags (which we love) and more are made by artisan partners across the globe.
Below, we’re sharing more of Carly’s story and why she believes that women, in particular, hold the key to changing the world.
Darling Magazine: Can you explain what “ethical fashion” is and how we as consumers can participate?
Carly Burson: Ethical fashion represents an approach to design, sourcing, and the manufacturing of clothing that maximizes benefits to people and communities while minimizing impact on the environment. For Tribe Alive, the meaning of ethical represents an approach that strives to take an active role in poverty reduction, sustainable livelihood creation, and in minimizing and counteracting environmental concerns through the production of our goods while providing a safe work environment.
It is incredibly easy for the consumer to participate in ethical and responsible fashion. There are so many amazing companies out there utilizing their platform to produce in a way that takes care of people and the earth. Consumers just need to ask the hard questions when choosing to spend their money. “Who made this and how is it affecting our planet?” If a company can’t answer that question, then find one who can, because there are a lot of us committed to knowing and providing the answers.
DM: What’s behind the name “Tribe Alive”?
CB: The name Tribe Alive came from my ambition to build more than just a company, but rather, to build a movement. Only a community can build a movement (which we like to call our Tribe), and we believe that fashion and ethical consumerism have the power to breathe life into the lives of women. Hence, the name Tribe Alive.
DM: What long term goals would you like to see achieved via Tribe Alive, for the company itself and its beneficiaries?
CB: There’s so much I want to achieve with Tribe Alive but I hope that my main objective always remains solely rooted in the desire to empower women living in extreme poverty. It’s very easy to get lost in the noise of the industry and the intricate layers of a new brand. But, when I take a moment to sit still and dial back to why I started, the reason is very clear. The amazing artisan women fuel each day and their success is what measures our success.
We started working with a handful of artisans in Honduras and Guatemala and in one year we’ve been able to employ hundreds of impoverished women and operate out of five developing countries. What I love most about running this type of company is that our victories are never enough. It always feels like we can be doing more and I hope the beautiful burden of bringing these women employment never leaves me. If I’m asked this question tomorrow or ten years from now, my answer will always be the same. We just want to employ more women.
DM: How do you source your products?
CB: We design everything in house and then source each design through different non-profit production houses all over the world committed to empowering women through free skill training and fair-wage employment. Our women are trained in each design and our non-profit partners oversee the production and overall logistics.
We love working with our partners because their work goes far beyond production and includes educational opportunities, community building, micro-financing and emotional support of our artisans. Our production not only employs women in need, but it also supports non-profits working daily to make a difference in the lives of women.
DM: Why did you choose to specifically center your brand around women?
CB: We believe that women are the key to our future. Not only are women more apt to inspire and mentor, they are also statistically more inclined to spend their money in ways that benefit the whole. Women spend the majority of their money on food, healthcare, home improvement and better schooling for their children and family. It’s called the ‘muti-plier effect.’
When we invest in women, then women will reinvest in the health and wellbeing of their communities. When you reach one woman, you reach one hundred more. We’re interested in positively affecting generations to come, which is why we choose to invest in women. Women pay it forward.
To read the rest of Darling Magazine’s interview with Carly, click through here!