Friday, July 29, 2011

Building the Nest

by Marra Manansala
To continue the spirit of shedding light on deserving talent, we decided to team up with an awesome nonprofit called Nest for our upcoming event in San Francisco on August 11th.
Nest provides small, interest-free loans to women overseas to create their very own small businesses. Their products are sent to be sold here in the U.S. Personally, I believe results are amazing and inspiring. First, there’s a continuation of ancient traditions from around the world being sold through the Western marketplace, and even in mainstream brands.
These Reef flip flops were woven by four communities of Mayan women in the Highlands.
LORD + TAYLOR, in collaboration with Feed 3, used traditional ikat fabrics made by Guatemalan women to create a colorful array of tote bags. Feed 3 later made a second round of bags, this time sold exclusively through American Eagle Outfitters.


Bags for American Eagle
 Nest chose to focus on communities of women for reasons that often go unnoticed. Women, for centuries, have been the artists of the family. Think about it. Mothers have made clothing for the family, improvised or created household objects, and have decorated the home. Nest believes the inherent skills women possess provides for a business model that allows for a stable income.
Lastly, Nest provides a bridge to cross from poverty to self-sufficiency for these women. The success of Nest has shown one critical pattern – the funds these women earn from Nest trickle down in benefit of their children and the overall community. There’s food on the table, medicine for wounds, and a new found sense of community that was, at one point, unable to be attained due to economical or cultural roadblocks for women.  As far as the loans Nest provides to these women, no monetary payback is expected. Instead, Nest asks for sellable material in order to continue the cycle of profit to loans for more communities in need. This basic model is used to avoid any cultural stigma of loans, and an often irreversible cycle of debt.
Nest Overview from Nest on Vimeo.

Nest is definitely an inspiring nonprofit to work with. If you’re interested in volunteering or interning, visit to view all the opportunities in your area. Come to our show on August 11th at Supperclub in San Francisco too, $1 from every ticket sold will be donated to Nest.  See ya there!

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