Business Will Change the World

Acholi Beads is a Socially Proactive Business.  What is that?  It’s a business whose success is directly tied to making the world a better place.  Case in point, as Acholi Beads succeeds, more women in Uganda get a hand out of poverty.

But our way of doing Socially Proactive Business is just one way.  There are thousands of others!  And since business is the most powerful force that’s shaped the world in the last 100 years, we believe Socially Proactive Business can improve the world more than any other force in the next 100.

Do you have an idea for a Socially Proactive Business? Make it happen!  If the world gets better as your business succeeds, that’s Socially Proactive.  And if enough of us start these businesses, we can change the world.

We’d be glad to help you brainstorm and refine your ideas.  Just contact us!

The Acholi Beads Story

I just finished (like 5 minutes ago) an updated version of the Acholi Beads Story.  It brings the story up to present day and features our latest beautfiul design.  Here’s a PDF version for you to check out.  If you want a high-res version to print out, Contact Us.

The full story of the Acholi Beads women, in one beautiful page.

The full story of the Acholi Beads women, in one beautiful page.

First Annual Acholi Gras Clearance Sale!

An Acholi Gras Bag!

An Acholi Gras Bag!

“You look so fat today!” To an American that’s a pretty blunt tool of an insult, but to an Acholi those words are a high compliment. After all, it’s hard to get fat as subsistence farmers facing the hunger and malnutrition of war. To be fat is to be rich. Men hope to grow a “politician’s belly” and women strive to be big and curvaceous.

As Mardi Gras or “Fat Tuesday” approaches we’re launching our own celebration: Acholi Gras, “Fat Acholi.” This first annual sale is a celebration of Acholi culture and our Acholi partners, who are eating better than ever thanks to all of our customers and supporters! These 16 women have experienced tremendous life change over the past year, and you can bet one change is reflected on the scale!

For a limited time we’re offering Acholi Gras Bags of Acholi Beads to celebrate. Each gift quality bag is filled with at least $80 of beautiful, handmade Acholi Beads jewelry from last year’s line (i.e. two months ago), and you pay only $39.99!

This is a great chance to fill out your Acholi Beads collection, get some gifts for friends, and change the world while doing it. Happy Acholi Gras!

Change the World, Pay the Bills

It’s no secret that when money gets tights, like it is for most Americans just now, one of the first things to be squeezed off the budget is giving to charities and non-profits. This is understandable for families trying to pay the mortgage and keep food on the table. Unfortunately it hurts those who can least afford it – the global poor who depend on those organizations.

Socially Proactive Businesses, like Acholi Beads, have one great advantage over non-profits: We don’t rely on donations. Quite the opposite in fact. Our business is set-up so that Americans can make an income right alongside our Acholi partners.

Almost all of our sales are made through stores or other resellers, who mark Acholi Beads up to a competitive market price and reap the benefits, while simultaneously growing the market for our jewelry and changing lives in Uganda. Everyone wins.

And in a down economy like this one, Americans need an income just like everyone else. So while nonprofits lose volunteers and donors, Acholi Beads is gaining reps and resellers. People love the chance to make the world a better place, and pay some bills while doing it.

Don’t get me wrong, I think nonprofits do necessary and amazing work around the world.  I’m just exploring the different ways that such work can be done, and I think that Socially Proactive Business is emerging as one of the most powerful and sustainable modes of changing the world for the better.

For info on how you can get involved, visit our Contact page here.

For James’ Birthday, You Could Get Times 20!

The “times 20″ rule is transforming the community around our bead-making partners in Uganda.  Sons and daughters, nieces and nephews, parents and grandchildren are all benefiting (check out the post before this one).  So we thought we’d see what “times 20″ can do in America.

On March 3, James’ birthday, we’re going to choose one of our recent orders and multiply it by 20.  So, if it’s a $40 order, some lucky person will get $800 worth of Acholi Beads.  That’s the power of “times 20.”

If you want your order to be elligible for a 20x boost, just enter the coupon code times20 on the shopping cart screen and wait until March 3 for the results!

Times x 20

It was an unexpected statistic in our research.  Twenty sounded high, but the numbers were right there, double-checked.  Each displaced Ugandan we employed spread the benefits of their income to approximately 20 people around them – children, spouses, nieces and nephews, brothers and sisters, parents and grandchildren; all of them benefitted from a single, well-earned income.

I was working with a nonprofit called Invisible Children, running part of their operation in northern Uganda.  We had just finished conducting a round of research among the beneficiaries of my program, trying to plumb the details of how our work was helping, and where it might be falling short.

This was arguably the single most important finding in shaping my work and understanding.  These impoverished, war stricken Acholi people, most of whom had never made a fair day’s wage in their lives, took the money they earned, which was still low by American standards, and essentially gave it away to 20 people around them.  They used it where it was needed most, filling needs that we never would have seen.

Acholi Beads now partners with 16 similarly displaced Acholi women.  It’s safe to assume that these women also spread their earnings to 20 people each – about 320 people total.  That’s an impact.

And we want to do more.  A lot more.

This idea of “Times 20” inspires us.  We know that if we can partner with enough women, a whole community can be changed.  They will use their earnings to make sure their families are cared for, and to raise up a new generation of Acholi leaders.  So we have set a goal.  We want to partner with 100 women by 2010.  Does your mind immediately do the math?  That’s 2,000 people benefiting from the sale of this beautiful jewelry.

How will Acholi Quarters change when this is a reality?  How many more kids will be in school?  How big will the smiles be on the faces of the 100 women?  And their children?

We’re excited to find out.  Help us get there.

Contact us to find out about distributing Acholi Beads in your area.  The more we can work to expand the market, the more women we can partner with, and the more people benefit.