If you have been following our work since we founded our organisation EXIT in 2006, you will know that our sole vision is to prevent disadvantaged Africans from falling victims of human trafficking. That is why we launched the Joadre project in 2014. But we have come to a point in our engagement that demands us to expand our social impact, beyond creating jobs for a dozen women through our fashion production. It is time to be more innovative and develop strategies to scale. For this simple reason, we are transmitting our work with Joadre fashion to create a broader service and structure that can empower even more Africans. A structure that leads to more social impact.
It is time to be more innovative and develop strategies to scale.
During the last 4 years, I spent over 85% of my time teaching tailors and our producers how to optimise their skills and work to become independent. Part of this experience led me to develop our new business platform – Joadre entrepreneur Lab. Our goal with the entrepreneurship lab is far beyond a fashion production model. Our goals are to educate young Africans about building a life filled with dignity. Expose them to the global economic world. Show them their potential and the hidden potential in Africa. Showcase the different sides of the truth and myths behind the narrative about Africa. Debate sincerely about the problems we face in the continent. Give them access to the global market. Discover their different skill set and help them leverage their opportunities. Abolish the mentality of poverty and grow the mind-set of prosperity. Prosperity that goes beyond mere financial reward. To learn from the mistakes we all have made and to celebrate what is possible.
Now you might wonder what happens to the fashion project.
Our Joadre fashion carries on but with another structure behind it. Previously, our team in Austria was responsible for designing, developing patterns, developing trainings, training the tailors, sourcing buyers, attending fairs and organising pop-events. We took care of logistics, storage, communication, programing and maintaining the online store amongst many other functions. With this enormous workload, it was impossible to grow as fast as we wanted. It was not possible for us to expand our employment from a dozen tailors to hundreds as we desired and envisioned.
So we decided to rethink our approach and filter the best practices gained from this process. What we have done now, is to support as many of our tailors to start their own mini production in Nigeria. By July 2019, we will have just one fixed worker on ground who will be our country director managing and coordinating a network of independent tailors who can produce for our existing customers. We would be holding a final management workshop training with our director in June 2019 so that she too can manage the Joadre online store and logistics.
What changes for the customer?
Basically nothing really changes, except that you now get your products directly from our storage facility in Lagos. This means that the shipping cost increases but the cost of product reduces significantly as the cost of management from Austria has reduced since Joadre fashion is now managed by our country director. The products are sold to target the Nigerian market as well. With the revenues our director generates, she can keep the storage facility, earn a fair income and also develop trainings by herself for the independent tailors she works with. If you are wondering how long it will take to get your ordered product, here is your relief! It will take no longer as usual. Our tailors are always excited to produce. Producing for you, means work for them. So when they receive your order, they actually make it the same day or the day after. We work with DHL for now, so DHL comes to pick it up and depends on how long DHL takes, you get it within a week.
What about returns and refunds?
Firstly, we hope that there is no need to return a product. But if for any reason, there is need to return a product, our charity organisation EXIT would handle the issue for you. You can write us using our email address [email protected]. Depending on your customer address, we would send you the appropriate address to return your product and refunds would be made accordingly.
Would there be pop-up events?
Yes, there would be pop-up events. Our charity organisation show cases the work of our partners from Nigeria, so you will have the opportunity to see the products. Moreover, we have some stores who stock our products. You can visit our stockist page to see which store close to you have the products. These stores buy directly from the makers as well.
It is very important to us that we can build a sustainable structure that actually creates more impact. I hope you understand why we have made this change. I would love to invite you to join our mission and attend one of our upcoming events. Check our event page for details. You can also invite us to host an event together with you. If you have enquires, please do not hesitate to write me personally using my email address [email protected].
Thank you for reading this article and I hope to meet you one day soon.