Friday, March 22, 2013

$200 Value for $22?

Last week my mother-in-law was visiting.  She was wearing what appeared to be a beautiful amethyst Elevita necklace, which I couldn't take my eyes off--not only because it was beautiful, but because I was racking my brain trying to remember when I had given it to her.  Try as I might, I could conjure up no memory explaining how she came by the necklace.  Finally we asked.  She replied that it actually wasn't an Elevita piece, but one she had purchased in a department store, after looking high and low for just the right purple piece.  Hesitatingly I inquired, "Can I ask you how much you paid for it?"

"Two-hundred dollars!" was her reply.  I quickly went to retrieve a twin piece from my Elevita inventory, thinking surely there must be a noticeable difference when the necklaces were placed side by side, but no!  The only difference we could ascertain was that the Elevita necklace was actually longer, enabling it to be doubled or even tripled.  Amazing!

So why, she wondered, do we sell it at such a low price?  The reason is that we always allow our artisans to set their prices, telling them to make sure it is a fair price for them and their families.  Then we sell their goods as inexpensively as possible, in the hope that the low prices will drive more sales.  Quickly selling through a product enables us to purchase more as soon as possible, continually supporting the artisans.  After realizing that our price difference was because of our business model and not because of quality, my mother-in-law immediately bought three more strings of Elevita beads!  Thank you, Sharon!!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Elevita Helps Form Cooperative in the Philippines

Elevita has helped a brave new group take steps to lift themselves from poverty.  The I Reach Out cooperative, inspired by Elevita and headed by Filipina Florita Escandor, has a vision to help all its members become self reliant.  In February the I Reach Out was able to open its first warehouse with a generous gift from Elevita.

One of the biggest reasons for poverty in the Philippines is corruption.  Prices of everyday commodities are controlled by a few large entities.  This makes it difficult for the average person to purchase more than a days worth of necessities at a time.

For years Florita Escandor (Flora) has had a vision to help lift her countrymen out of poverty.   Once she connected with Kirsten Monson, Elevita Cofounder, in Singapore, Flora knew it was finally time to act.  Flora decided to tackle the poverty problem by changing the method of goods distribution.  With her background in economics and business, Flora approached major manufacturers and negotiated with them to release their products at reduced prices.  These products will then go directly into the hands of cooperative members, without several middleman price increases.  The cooperative has launched in a warehouse, which also gives its members a place to sell their own produce and handmade goods.  Elevita plays an additional role by helping the artisan members sell their handmade products on

The cooperative is carefully organized so that members receive a rebate for all their purchases, which is applied to savings, investments, and to furthering the mission of the cooperative.  With this ingenious model Flora has taken great steps to help free her fellow citizens from the rule of the "tycoons" who run the country.  The I Reach Out cooperative is young, but Elevita has great hope for the future of its members, and is proud to play a role in its inception.

The I Reach Out cooperative, headed by Florita Escandor (back right).