I had the opportunity to connect with Jane Mosbacher Morris at the AYA Summit in 2014. She was a keynote speaker at the summit and was launching her company, TO THE MAKRET, with a mission to economically empowers vulnerable women through artisan enterprise.
Not long after the summit, I interviewed Jane for my book Simple Giving: Easy Ways to Give Every Day. It’s been fun to watch how TO THE MARKET grow. After seeing Jane and TO THE MARKET featured in the The New York Times this week, I decided to share with you their story from the book.
An excerpt from chapter five, Giving Model 3: Shopping with a Conscience, follows:
Launched in 2014, TO THE MARKET is an online marketplace that showcases handmade goods created by survivors of abuse, conflict, and disease.
Before starting TO THE MARKET, Jane Mosbacher Morris served as the director of Humanitarian Action for the McCain Institute and worked in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Counterterrorism and the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues. Jane has been most interested in people’s working conditions. She believes that even social issues are market driven and that providing economic independence to others can break the cycle of poverty.
As a social enterprise, TO THE MARKET takes a three-pronged approach in its business model. TO THE MARKET first promotes survivor-made goods for purchase through its online marketplace, pop-up shops, custom sourcing, and retail partnerships. In addition, TO THE MARKET shares the inspiring stories of survivors by creating platforms, including its own “Stories” blog and a Huffington Post blog, for the survivors and their champions. Finally, TO THE MARKET provides tailored services—including addressing workers’ mental health and delivering trend forecasts—to its partners that employ survivors in order to help them improve their production and organizational management.
Jane works with as many partners as possible. She first started with a handful of organizations that she knew worked with survivors—the initial vetting process was already complete because she’d worked with each of them before.
When Jane and her team create new partnerships, they make sure the companies adhere to TO THE MARKET’s guiding principles, which include prohibition of child labor, the maintenance of a safe and hospitable workplace environment, fair hours and wages, good corporate citizenship that protects workers’ dignity and human rights, and the opportunity for employees to form a labor union or express grievances.
Visitors to the TO THE MARKET website can shop by cause, country, partner, or type of product they are looking for. You can find beautifully handmade clothes, shoes, bags, home goods, jewelry, and accessories.
Jane says that the survivors employed by TO THE MARKET partners are not only given an opportunity to achieve economic independence but they are also changing their children’s trajectory, as many were at risk of being exploited.
Each Friday, the another jennifer blog shares stories of those who incorporate philanthropy into their everyday lives – personally and professionally – in a creative and unique way. If you have a story you’d like to share, please contact Jennifer.