(Jane and I wearing our HOPE Products sari infinity scarves at #AYASummit)
Jane’s depth of experience and ability to convey the why behind her new social enterprise, TO THE MARKET | Survivor-Made Goods (TTM) literally blew me away. If I could have recorded every word she spoke, I would have. Here is a glimpse of her impressive resume and past work that has strategically prepared her to be one of the most passionate and on-point social entrepreneurs I have met to date:
Jane Mosbacher Morris is the Founder and CEO of TO THE MARKET | Survivor-made Goods, a social enterprise focused on the promotion of goods made by and stories told by survivors of conflict, abuse, and disease. She previously served as the Director of Humanitarian Action for theMcCain Institute for International Leadership, where she managed the Institute’s anti-human trafficking program. She currently serves on the Institute’s Human Trafficking Advisory Council. Prior to joining the Institute, she worked in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Counterterrorism and in the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues.
I am also very impressed with her holistic approach in working with the organizations and companies who employ survivors:
TTM partners with existing social enterprises and non-profits that have already set up shop, hired, and trained survivors to produce beautiful handicrafts. We call these organizations Local Partners. By beginning our partnership at this stage in the Local Partners’ development, we believe that we are able to more efficiently and effectively scale our impact. We aim to economically empower survivors by partnering with the Local Partners that employ them to:
- Provide additional distribution channels for their survivor-made products.
- Amplify the good their good work through online and offline platforms.
- Trend forecasting and sales analyses to inform production decisions.
- Basic mental health resources to increase awareness of common mental health dynamics that a survivor may experience.
- Combined market power.
(Jane in Northern India visiting our friends at JOYN: Taken by Neil Ruskin, this photograph is of me and the mother of one of JOYN’s employees. The mother and her son (the JOYN employee) hosted us at her “home”. We are standing by their “home” in the slums of Derha Dun, India.)
I am thrilled to be joining voices with many other #AYASummit attendees this week, introducing Jane and promoting her fabulous company as it launches.
In preparation for this post, I asked Jane to tell me a few things about the how and why of TTM, and how her past experiences led her to this new venture.
I am launching TO THE MARKET | Survivor-made Goods (TTM) to help provide economic independence, and ultimately the choice and control that it affords, to the most marginalized among us–survivors of abuse, conflict, and disease. My belief in the importance of economic independence solidified during my time working on women’s empowerment at the U.S. State Department. I repeatedly watched people, especially women, struggle to move forward with their life after experiencing some form of trauma but having few, if any, options for restoration or self-sufficiency. The social services most often provided by non-profits and the government, like emergency housing and food, are indispensable at first, but are only a temporary fix to a long-term problem.
What is most desired by these survivors (and often most needed) is the opportunity to earn an income. In the Spring of 2013, I had left the State Department to work for the McCain Institute for International Leadership. I was traveling to Calcutta, India with the very special Mrs. McCain to study human trafficking in India, when we visited two businesses employing survivors of human trafficking. I was struck by the model—the concept of creating an organization for the purpose of serving a survivor population through employment rather than just social services—and became committed to learning more. I soon discovered that hundreds of these organizations employing survivors had been started all over the world for different types of survivor populations, including survivors of abuse (ex: human trafficking, sexual assault, domestic violence); conflict (ex: war widows, refugees); and disease (ex: HIV+, polio).
I felt compelled to support these organizations because I believe that the dignity of work is one of the most transformative and sustainable ways to empower the most marginalized. Accordingly, I designed TTM to combine the powers of commerce and storytelling to empower the world’s most courageous survivor populations, in the belief that resilience is more powerful than suffering. TTM showcases handmade goods made exclusively by proud and passionate artisans who have overcome the perils of abuse, conflict, and disease. By assisting local partners around the world in bringing these goods “to the market,” we take an active role in equipping the survivor’s that they employ with economic independence, while raising awareness about the challenges that they face.
(Taken by Emily Johnston, this image shows shoes made by our friends at The Root Collective and a bracelet made by ARZU Studio Hope. The Root Collective helps fight gang violence (among other things) and ARZU Studio Hope employs female survivors of conflict in Afghanistan.)
As founder of The Holiday Market (that runs only once a year for a brief 3 hour window), you can only imagine how excited I am to find and connect with Jane, as well as do all I can to promote her company to all who will listen to me. And if you look closely, you will see many products from some of our own Holiday Shop vendors!
Please take some time to peruse TO THE MARKET. You can shop by product, cause, or country. I love that! If you didn’t make it to The Holiday Shop, or you still have quite a few people left on your gift list, check out the site. There is something for everyone, at every price point.
Congratulations, Jane! I am excited to see TTM evolve and grow and thankful for the world of good you are doing along the way.