In July of 2017, while exploring the fabric markets and tailor shops of Anloga, Ghana, I met a talented seamstress named Vida.
A discussion about fabrics and patterns evolved into a conversation between two female entrepreneurs trading stories about our lives and ambitions. I learned that Vida uses her sewing expertise not only to craft beautiful garments for her customers, but to teach young women in her community through apprenticeships.
Vida expressed to me how passionate she is about empowering young women with skills that enable them to start their own seamstress shops and achieve financial independence.
I was deeply inspired by her drive and ingenuity, her ability to turn her personal success into a way to help women in her community.
I also learned that, because she did not own an electric sewing machine, Vida was...
unable to meet the volume of her customer demand or expand her business. Upon further research I learned that Vida’s situation is not unique; many seamstresses in Ghana and around the world are unable to scale their businesses because they don’t have access to necessary resources.
Inspired by her story and efforts to use her expertise to empower other women in her community, I wanted to work with Vida to help her get a sewing machine.
Over time, I realized that instead of thinking at the small scale of procuring a single sewing machine, I could think more like Vida; by mobilizing my business skills and passion for empowering women, I could create a business that would support not only the expansion of Vida’s business, but one that could provide that same support to many other women in the same situation.
Horror stories of exploitative labor and negative environmental impact are common in the fashion industry. I’ve always known that I wanted to pursue sustainable development, and what better industry to revolutionize than one which is in such need of new practices and meaningful change? I decided that I would create a better brand, using principles of sustainable development to center ethical impact, and focus on investing in the futures of women around the world.
I decided to call the new brand Hope Sews to honor the seamstresses we work to support and the clothing that connects all members of the Hope Sews community.
And so, Hope Sews was born. Since our founding in 2018, we have pursued a path of innovation, and continue discovering new ways to increase the social impact of our brand. The #HopeSewsRippleEffect is the reason we do what we do, and as we grow, it grows with us.
In 2019, we were able to make our first microfinancing loan -- to the woman who was instrumental to the formation of Hope Sews. Vida purchased a sewing machine and has thus been able to meet a higher customer demand. Vida is now able to employ even more apprentices and empower more young women.
I encourage you to learn more about our social impact and supply chain. Our brand is ever-evolving, constantly engaged in the process of becoming better and better. This is only the beginning for us.
Thank you for joining us on our mission of empowering women through cross-cultural fashion.