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!