Successful jewelry startup uses fashion to empower women
Five college friends started 31Bits in 2008, and now employee over 100 women at home and in Uganda
- Duration 10:00
- Date Nov 8, 2012
Five college friends started 31Bits in 2008, and now employee over 100 women at home and in Uganda
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Welcome back online -- -- -- so it is small business Wednesday it doesn't Friday votes on Wednesday folksy Ken this is -- -- do our small business segments so pretty good straight out to Los Angeles now we have this founders.
And the directors of PR and marketing and sales at 31 bit since Hillary company joining us we have a navy blue -- -- -- -- -- -- And says I have a sign in -- joining us thanks ladies for joining us today.
All right so when -- 31 -- start I wanna say in the depths of the financial crisis correct.
Yeah it started it's -- really randomly -- In college in Orange County -- that I -- and all of us where.
Kind of going in different directions let our careers and with our majors then we kind of -- our lives on -- out -- about -- we're gonna deal and things change the -- One of our friends Cali went over to -- -- and met some women that we're creating this beautiful jewelry made out of recycled rolled paper.
And she learn more about their stories and -- -- -- there needs to learn as far as an income and providing for their families and she came back with a box of historian sold it to friends and family in the youth and the money back.
Savannah not really -- my drilling and we could do so much more win this awesome product then.
It could really provide.
Provide an income and then -- better means for better life forties -- -- and so.
That was in 2008.
That we started patent -- -- -- junior year of college and it's kind of been a whirlwind since and -- figuring out let.
Development looks like and running programs things on that -- empowering our women -- Jesse you actually spend time -- all of you in you've gone they spent about a month there is -- -- trying to figure out what life was like Citi could determine.
How to best employee the -- Yeah how we actually -- -- founders all rotated in and out of living in -- -- -- for the first couple years.
It hasn't continue to grow we realize that.
There is equally need on -- side for all of us today you know be fulltime working on marketing and find the products here.
That we actually keep its team full time not in -- -- -- so we have.
CEO hired American employees and they also have I'd be gone and -- -- candidate managers that oversee all of our programming.
And that way you know we can really be confident that our programming is -- Effectively and you behind that and then we have really close relations with our -- over there I'm -- -- contacted them over Skype I mean.
Thank goodness bird technology now that we can Skype with I -- -- our teams there.
Just on a daily or weekly basis and so we keep -- -- out there that just oversee all of our programming.
When you -- programming what exactly is programming your factories or -- school.
-- -- And we actually so I have I think I think we have over a hundred women there in Yoo the Hyundai -- For as a huge part of what we deal I mean obviously we want a solid great product and so quality control -- -- Designing jewelry and developing new products is a huge part of what we do -- on that.
-- even beyond not our main -- for these women is to help them create sustainable lightly heads for themselves so.
Our programs consist of English lessons for the women finance training health education -- and then I think the most exciting part of our program is our business training programs so.
Part of the program actually there's too late for tears and our program.
The women are actually learning how to start their own businesses in Uganda as a helping them identify look at assets and resources that they have and then also what kinds of business says.
We'll be affected in Uganda and so that way.
After Florida five years and our program are women can actually graduate with their own businesses in you've gone that's not -- they're not dependent on.
Thirty and that's forever but they actually have their own jobs where they can inflame other people from the community -- many -- circulating right there in -- gone -- -- even providing opportunities for their children in the future.
Still -- would you be able to to say your estimate how much.
Money is needed let's say on a daily or weekly or monthly business to survive in Uganda.
Hello guys -- -- -- -- specifically I mean that's hard to say our program.
Home -- -- -- you traveled there you you got to.
Learn what life was like and what they needed to get by a U there was -- you know last night right -- it.
Yeah I I guess it's apparently.
You forget about the equivalent events later teacher's salary and you dynamics is assisting -- amount of money it's and I.
For them to get by and provide for their family and that we're not making them wealthy either you know -- And they we have bank accounts that up with elements of their learning how to save their money in their -- How to budget and what felt like and along -- that when they do -- out of our program they have.
They have money senate side you.
To really help them start that -- Small businesses and who -- from there.
Okay let's talk about that -- for a little bit what does it look like.
I mean we saw some of the pictures that how would you describe it -- what makes it look like 31 bets and then also what is 31 that's in terms of the name.
Yeah I love at first up the jeweler -- modeling -- -- next.
No he added that Hillary is actually army out of recycled papers all these -- -- that you see.
Are on made and from his role recycled paper and then -- with the water based artist though.
Immediate and it's really important -- to have a water based -- -- on toxic that they are women and you working around also states aware obviously.
That that we have created it.
Paper -- -- that women in northern Africa and eastern Africa have been doing for a long time.
But a big part of our company it's really really work on design with a -- in and that way.
We're selling a product that's complete -- -- in in the west and so.
We and have a designer Amy gone and then also designer here that are constantly communicating.
Over -- over email working on new designs working on new colors keeping up with with latest fashion trends.
And sell and forgot you'd never believe -- Louisiana coast that it actually made other recycled paper but it's kind of a fun part of our products.
You're probably trying to come up with new ideas new products for -- as well.
And in the name again that's actually been 31 comes from proverbs 31 -- -- talks about.
Women providing for their households and using skills that they have to provide for their families and then it comes friend bits of paper -- -- -- -- out of -- and we're going by regular it.
We have an online start -- -- -- dot com okay and -- we have a really great.
Winter items Hillary out right now I'm just in time for the holidays is a lot of great step up -- right now.
In addition and we found about 200 in thirty stores across the US son and Canada -- And those are all looking you can find them on our website as Lana starlet catered -- and then we -- getting involved.
In -- it just.
The US caller on the US by hosting house parties.
And that is actually really cool way for women -- involves by hosting a house party.
At their home -- -- -- -- of oxygen Larry and they can actually thought to their friends and family and share video share story and it's kind of a fun way for our.
Women -- connecting kind of make a difference the -- they purchased Hillary Italy they're purchasing holiday gifts.
And also have an efforts need to learn about -- gone in what's going on there.
How much of the story and they humanitarian work that you do how what is the customer response to that.
-- -- Absolutely I think its all important that on our customers.
Really know what.
31 that is -- you know knows the deaths of our development programs in Uganda and knows exactly let.
Our -- lives -- like and where they're going from here and it's not just the source of income that it really is the source of the future for them and as -- its customary start learning about -- brings them back you know -- They wanna be able to continue to provide for them and as another reason why some -- -- that territories as silent since self fashionable on.
Always cutting edge is so that those customers do continue to come back.
Because of course we want them to love and appreciate our product we also never wanted to be carried by we want them to buy because they really love it -- I don't yeah.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Yeah it is really important social media and giving our customers.
Involved in now way and whether students to -- thematic and really quickly I just can't -- content.
-- to share with us any challenges you've had as a small business and indeed.
As a business trying to operate.
I guess -- Yeah -- and that.
I didn't say that it indefinitely starting a business and a time of it not the greatest economy.
I'm -- presents challenges that didn't help but like I said because -- just agrees story.
I think -- in this time people are starting to think about the way they're purchasing differently where their money is going -- -- having them being.
Where they can buy a great products and things nationals living that they want to -- and that's going to great causes actually in some ways really helped us.
But there's employment -- is -- -- he had just figuring L anywhere five girls starting fresh out of college not really knowing a whole lot about business and there's.
Definitely every time you can think of them figuring out how to start a business and especially across the world yeah.
Credit every time we got to end it there and -- -- And they -- assignments in an Alley Swanson thank you so much for Sharon your small business success story.
They certainly are and being so humanitarian.
Here let's say 31 -- dot com is up on our screen.
-- -- and and good luck he'll end all the women that you are helping especially in you've got a thanks so much for joining us I would list yeah.