From a Dream to Fruition

PD Community,

I was overwhelmed by the positive feedback, personal messages and overall support for my first blog – thank you!

Many people have asked: “Tell me all about what you’ve been doing to get to this point!” So here it goes!

After taking the terrifying plunge and leaving behind the stability and security of my day job, I was off again to Nicaragua - the birthplace of PurpleDirt. 

Living with a local family, I spent those days learning all I could: the daily toils, the culture, and the commercial struggles of artisans. All the while, I kept my eyes open for unique product designs and the talent that crafted them. This was a humbling and necessary step in building out my strategy. It reminded me of the important role the community plays in Nicaraguan culture. My passion and drive to help ease social deprivation was fuelled and energized like never before.

With new relationships formed, an iPhone album full of fabulous memories and jewelry in tow, I returned back to Canada eager to share my newly acquired product with the North American market.

Overall I had a great response, customers loved the simplicity yet stylish characteristics of the braided bracelets and were passionate about the cause and supporting FINCA and the Nicaraguan Community. But I faced a marketing challenge: Single cause-driven purchases wouldn't be sustainable and would not make the imprint in the Nicaraguan community that was required.  The products had to speak for themselves to drive repeat purchases.

I had done my research on like companies and learnt from their mistakes. I knew that in order to develop a truly sustainable and impactful model; to stand up to the competition, I would need to enhance the quality of the product, ensure its appeal to the North American market and diversify the line. And I needed to do all this while staying true to the initial intent of the organization – to help Nicaraguan artisans to flourish and grow. 

The key was actually quite simple – I needed to grant these talented artisans access to raw materials, tools and knowledge that currently weren't available to them. I needed to pre-purchase higher quality leathers, threads, beads, jewels and metals, source more advanced tools and partner them with Canadian designers who had perfected their craft through experience and education. 

And PurpleDirt 2.0 was created! 

Now I am just 10 days away from heading back down to Nicaraguan with our first Canadian designer, Mellinda-Mae Harlingten to work with freelance artisans in Granada and a women's co-op to collaborate on lines of jewelry - and I couldn’t be more excited!

We also just launched a crowd-funding campaign to help with purchasing raw materials, pre-sales and seasonal inventory too. While we are in Nicaragua, we will be posting newly available products with guaranteed delivery by Dec 20th – just in time for the holidays!

So what do you guys think? Do you know any designers that will be interested in partnering with PurpleDirt in the future?

Can’t wait to hear from you!

Lots of love!

Erin

  

Comments on this post  ( 6 )

Rachid says:

, but it is 12 and there is water all over, and he said LADY, put a bucket under the pipe or wethaver, but I have to go to lunch and then take my nap! So I will be there this afternoon!! And so we did as were told and went on with our work!!! That is the Spanish way of doing things and either you learn to live with it or you would be a very upset person and that is just not worth it!! I would love to do a trip with you!

Moises says:

Lindy,This is an amazing story of how God has used Church Online for your falimy. We are so honored to have you all as part of the Church Online falimy. Be sure to tell your husband and all the kids that Pastor Brandon says hi and way to go! God definitely works all things together for good. Let us know if you all need anything. Thanks for sharing!

Gugunk says:

Venga a la comemoracion de la vida de Ben Linder! A Memorial 25 Years LaterRemembering Ben LinderLa Pen~a Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley CASaturday April 28, 2012Free 4-6pmRemembering Ben Linder 25 years after he was keilld in Nicaragua. Ben was an engineer, a circus arts performer, a solidarity and peace activist and to many of us a friend, coworker and more. On April 28th 1987 Ben was murdered by the Reagan backed counter revolutionaries while doing research for a small scale hydro electric generator in a rural area of Nicaragua. This was to be his second project providing electric power to an isolated farm town. Ben had lived in Nicaragua for years already. He was known for his work and known for his play. He was constantly involved in local circus arts, doing full costume clown, riding unicycle and juggling.He was also involved in the solidarity movement to oppose the criminal Reagan Administration dirty war against the Nicaraguan people and government. You are invited to come and join his friends, admirers and many who have been involved with Latin American solidarity, alternative energy development and circus arts, along with our friends to remember him and share about all the issues that his life and death bring up. Following the memorial, those who wish can join us for dinner at the adjacent restaurant.

Erin Walker says:

thanks ladies!! I really appreciate the kind words!

Christina – I will send you a separate email, I would love to find new Canadian designers join the PurpleDirt team!! It is such a rewarding experience! x

Catherine Anderson says:

Congratulations Erin….the website and all the work you’ve done so far are fantastic! I love the name PurpleDirt. Keep it up :)

ChristinaPareHairstylist says:

This is so great Erin I can’t wait to start shopping! I’ll talk to some jewelry designers I know as well! Keep up the good hard work. xo

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