Happy International Women’s Day!
For this blog post, in celebration of women’s rights, I want to get into a little more of the “why” Grace + Ivory is a social enterprise focusing on women and girls and why we choose to do what we do.
We are celebrating the movement for women’s rights as we continue to press for progress in gender equality and bringing light to issues specifically affecting women and girls. Grace + Ivory was founded as a socially conscious business, so we could not only bring amazing wedding dresses to the modern bride, but so we could also raise money to give to programs helping women and girls in need. A portion of every dress purchase goes to this pool of funds.
What I get asked about all the time is why start a business that is a social enterprise model? My question back is, why not? I didn’t want to just start a business first and add a social impact aspect on as an afterthought – my whole reason to start Grace + Ivory was to have social impact at the heart of the company. Not only are we selling made-to-measure dresses that are different from the traditional business model, Grace + Ivory is an entity that focuses on bridging private sector business with programs helping women and girls.
But why the focus on women and girls? Again, why not? There are a ton of issues in this world and I would love to be working on all these issues. However, we need focus and we’re putting our work and sweat where our passion is. I support women helping other women. I think it’s wonderful that other women entrepreneurs that I’ve met are so helpful and supportive of other women entrepreneurs – and I want to extend that compassion past my peers. As women, we can relate to other women and girls that are not so fortunate and are struggling from issues that are unique to our so-called gender: child marriage, women’s economic empowerment, teenage pregnancy, girls’ rights to an education, violence against girls and women, menstrual hygiene and needs, female genital mutilation, and so on.
Grace + Ivory as a bridal company is involved at a unique juncture in life: weddings and marriage exist across cultures and affect every type of society in some shape or form. It’s historically about a woman being betrothed to a man. The historical aspects behind this ceremony and what they stood for does clash with ideas of what we want a modern woman to be: independent, self-sufficient, and generally just kickass. But human beings are constantly in flux; wedding traditions change, fashion changes, and the women behind it change too. Grace + Ivory supports women who want to celebrate wedding traditions and recognize that she can still be what women also stand for today.
So I think the symmetry is clear; while we are providing amazing made-to-measure wedding dresses to brides to celebrate one of their most joyous occasions, we are also contributing to programs such as helping girls stay in school and avoid child marriage. So let’s get together ladies and help each other out.
I want to end this blog post with one of my favorite quotes: “There is no force more powerful than a woman determined to rise.”
Spread the word! #pressforprogress #IWD2018