In Spring 2015, Fox Management Consulting provided marketing research and planning to Sari Bari, a social enterprise that makes women’s accessories from recycled saris. Recently, Sari Bari won the OPUS Prize, and along with it, $1,000,000 to build the organization.
Co-founder and creative director Sarah Lance commented on the work from the Fox MC team: “The team’s awesome work laid a foundation for how things have moved ahead.” Below, Sari Bari provided a guest blog post on the prize and what’s next for the organization.
From Sari Bari:
“We, at Sari Bari, are extremely grateful and deeply honored by the Award of the Opus Prize. We see it as not only an honor for Sarah Lance, but truly an honor for and recognition of the work of the entirety of the Sari Bari community for freedom, women whose own choice for freedom makes it possible, staff and interns who gave their time and talents and our community of customers and cheerleaders who have contributed with their belief that freedom was and is possible!
The Opus Prize is allowing Sari Bari to dream for a longer future. Many years ago we committed to building something that would last not 5 years or 10 years but more than 50 years, we dreamed for a future that we ourselves may never see become reality. Still we intentionally held the long view that we wanted to provide long-term options for employment for women who needed a way out of the commercial sex trade and women who were vulnerable to being trafficked. We dreamed for a day when Sonagacchi, a red light area of more than 10,000 would no longer be a red light but a place restored. The dream is still the same and capacity to continue to pursue that dream in all its impossibility is expanded with the opportunity that the receipt of the Opus Prize presents.
So what is SARI BARI going to do with the OPUS Prize?
Sari Bari has been around for more than 10 years and with the help of the Opus Prize we will expand employment opportunities and support to 100-150 women in the next 5 years. Additionally we are committed to continuing to build a sustainable infrastructure through capacity building, evaluation, Fair Trade certification, staff development, and education for the women and staff, and building the support infrastructure and capacity of SBUSA to increase sales of goods and awareness and action around the issues related to commercial sexual exploitation and human trafficking. Sari Bari will engage in strategic partnerships to broaden and deepen opportunities for freedom through and with parallel organizations, this is a “give back, Pay forward” commitment to freedom for women.
With the help of the OPUS PRIZE we plan to grow Sari Bari in 4 major focus areas:
Employment and Opportunity
We will continue to create more opportunities for freedom from the commercial sex trade through Sari Bari in Kolkata India.
- Employ up to 150 more women in the next 5 years
- Develop new businesses to employ more women for freedom
- Expand types of products and skill bases of existing women to ensure long term viability of the business
- Complete the Heroes Campaign, specifically targeting hiring young women existing the aftercare system in Kolkata ($174,000 already raised, $75,000 to $100,000 to complete the campaign which includes building purchase which creates expanded space to hire more women)
Capacity and Infrastructure
Sari Bari is committed to sustainability of the business and social services of Sari Bari in India and the role of SBUSA as a key role player in sustainability of projects in Kolkata. We seek to develop capacity and ensure a strong infrastructure In both Sari Bari in India and the USA
- Board Development (USA and India)
- Strategic hiring in the areas of Operations, Social work, fundraising and Design
- External evaluations of the projects: manufacturing, social business
- Trade registrations: Fair Trade Registration and Craftmark registration
- Policy development
- Leadership and professional development of USA and India staff
- Increase sales revenue and customer base
- Expand marketing reach
- Ensure the development of a sustainable reputable USA based Sari Bari organization.
- SBUSA Annual Board Development/retreat
- Staff Care: Annual retreats, sabbaticals for long term staff
- Partial Salary support for Staff who fundraise for their financial support.
- Centralize SBUSA operations
Sari Bari is seeking to expand the brand to engage more customers and donors to partner with us to sustain freedom and opportunity for the women at Sari Bari and our ability to continue to hire more women.
- Trade Shows
- Re-brand to engage more customers
- Website updates
- Book writing support for Sarah Lance to tell the Sari Bari Story
Sari Bari is committed to partnering with and empowering similar and parallel organizations working with Trafficking Survivors and doing trafficking prevention work around the world.
- Partner with young and developing orgs to support capacity building for suitability
- Consulting with developing orgs to assist them as they grow their businesses and programming
- Partner with US based org working with survivors to take on fulfillment services for SBUSA.
Sari Bari has developed a plan to use the funds over a five-year period and we have developed a strategic plan to begin implementation in 2017. We will keep you updated on our progress.
In the meantime, we will keep doing what we do and not only dreaming for the future but implementing the next steps that will make a new future possible for more women and their families.
Read more about the OPUS Prize: