Someone Somewhere: Giving the Gift of Good Living
Beyond the towering skyscrapers and big cities are small communities that continue to live with their traditional way of life. These indigenous communities offer a magical sense of family, community, and art. However, these places face problems such as income generation, migration, and commercialization. Fortunately, businesses can offer solutions to indigenous people, empowering a community to thrive and share their values with the world.
In this last episode of our Christmas series, we discuss how businesses can help communities and empower women. Fatima Alvarez, the co-founder and Chief Impact Officer of Someone Somewhere joins us to share their work empowering a community in Mexico. They create a social impact by helping families take control of their income and use traditional arts to help their community thrive.
Empowering a Community of Artisans
Indigenous communities are places of nature and community. Fatima and the co-founders of Someone Somewhere saw the magic of their way of life — but also its challenges. The women in these communities faced a common problem: gaining income to support their families. With teachings passed from generation to generation, they use their artisanal weaving skills to create amazing products. Alongside Someone Somewhere, they can bring the products and values of these communities to families everywhere.
The challenges indigenous communities faced were not because of a lack of hard work or knowledge but because of struggles with commercialization. Artisans don't need industrial factories and manufacturing to scale their businesses. Instead, Someone Somewhere provided a model that preserves their traditional handcrafted goods while increasing their reach.
Someone Somewhere’s role is empowering a community to compete in a premium market while keeping the artisan element. “We design this model in which what artisans do is what makes more sense for them, what they love the most, and what they want to still teach to their children and their grandchildren.”
The Pathway Model
The Pathway Business Model follows an artisan's path — from learning a technique to scaling their work. It follows four different stages that allow them to choose how far they want to go:
Some artisans want to reach scalability and have an independent organization, while others aim to thrive as independent artisans. Each stage has workshops and measures designed to encourage artisans to improve and reach success. They teach valuable skills, like improving their techniques, organizational management, and promoting their handcraft. Reaching the scalability stage means working with partners to support scaling and investing in the community.
With this model, Someone Somewhere aims to change the narrative that success for families in indigenous communities can only come from working in bigger cities. Fatima wants them “to see their mothers being successful by reproducing their traditions, living in their communities, living in their values and keeping families together.”
Leadership in Indigenous Artisan Communities
The artisans are their own leaders. Fatima and their company don’t make decisions for them. Instead, they have a client-supplier relationship where the communities can be independent and led by their own people. One core value for different communities is family. Artisans work together for their family and their community. Someone Somewhere is empowering a community to take its traditions, culture, and values to a bigger stage.
Leadership in The Community of Puebla
Someone Somewhere's partner community in Puebla is led by a couple that works together. Petra takes the lead in their work while her husband, Alfredo, supports her in logistics and financing. Their leadership is possible with the support of their family. Petra and other women can lead their communities with the backing of their husbands.
Leadership in The Community of Oaxaca
Oaxaca's artisan community is also led by a powerful couple: Victor and Lucera. Victor is in charge of the artisans and technical side of the community, while Lucera handles administrative tasks. Their respect for each other and their responsibilities make the success of the Oaxacan community possible.
Victor wants to keep families united because he knows there is power in being a united family and community. They want to teach people how to weave so that husband and wife can stay home and care for the children together.
Empowering Indigenous Women in Business
Women in indigenous communities have always done handcrafting in their homes but haven't entered the competitive market. At first, some hid their work from their husbands. In time, families and communities realize that what these women in business do is beneficial and not at all harmful to anyone.
Commercializing and being part of the artisan community has helped women in business. They gained more friends, found support and inspiration, and worked together as a team. Together, they gain the power and security to be recognized as an organization and make their own decisions. While in the past, many might have been hesitant to tell their husbands about their work. Now, they feel more empowered and are not afraid of showing what they can do.
Empowering a community of women in business can take time and effort. Someone Somewhere partners with different organizations dedicated to women's empowerment as well as experts in different fields. They teach the communities different things from women empowerment to building small enterprises.
Creating an Economic and Social Impact
Someone Somewhere is not an NGO. They find different ways and strategies to make a profit for good. Fatima shares: “Our secret sauce until now, even as this changes every time, is trying to partner with people that are aligned with our purpose and our values. [People] that is willing to take the risks that we are taking.” Impact investors today pay attention to a business' economic revenue and social impact.
One way to stay competitive is eliminating unnecessary intermediaries and learning to reduce margins and be efficient in their processes. It takes time and effort to find the right people to show they can be a competitive business and make a social impact. They know their social impact makes them unique; this core value encourages people to buy the products they sell.
Environmental Impact: Climate Neutral Certification
The fashion industry is the second most polluting industry. As a business for good, Someone Somewhere doesn't want to be a part of that. The indigenous communities they work with are greatly affected by the climate crisis despite doing more to take care of Mother Earth. By striving to have a climate-neutral business, they can minimize their contribution to the effects of the crisis on their partner artisans and communities.
A Climate Neutral Certification shows that the environment is central to Someone Somewhere's mission. They are finding new ways and opportunities to invest and create a positive environmental impact. They work to have more transparency, find sustainable materials, and develop a way to generate energy through the movement of the loom. They continue to find ways to stay profitable and create a positive social impact in the world.
If you want to grow your team to take your business to the next level, a CFO can help you figure out your next best move. We understand that your financial strategies need to align to your business, because your profits have a greater purpose than just serving the bottom line. Your business aims to make an impact. Whether that’s empowering a community of indigenous artisans like Someone Somewhere, providing water and light to areas facing difficulties, or something else totally unique, we do everything in our power to ensure that your business serves your purpose first and foremost. Schedule a discovery call with Profit Reimagined™ to help you cover your foundations and deepen your understanding of these concepts.