Now Accepting Applications for the Acholi Beads Summer Internship


There is a new type of business emerging in the modern marketplace – business that cares for people and the planet, business that doesn’t just make a profit, it makes a difference.

This summer a select team of students will be invited to invest in such a business through Acholi Beads Internships.  If you are chosen you will have the opportunity to engage deeply with our company, learning the opportunities, challenges, and rewards of business done right.

Candidates will be chosen based on enthusiasm, mission, talent, and experience, in that order.  We are looking for people to believe in.  Once selected, Acholi Beads Interns will be matched with one of several specialized areas, such as Media/Design, Business Operations, Sales, Special Projects, etc.  And over the course of the summer we will engage them in the bigger topics we wrangle with: global disparity; gender inequality; business and altruism; and effective development.

Location: San Diego, CA 92104
Duration: June 15 – Aug 31, 2010 (flexible to accommodate academic schedules)
Compensation: Internships are unpaid, but Interns may choose to sell Acholi Beads products to make a supplementary income.

If you wish to apply, please send a letter of interest to at your earliest convenience.  We can’t wait to work with you.

Envisioning the Future of NUPECA

This past weekend I took the leaders of our partner Co-op, NUPECA, on a leadership retreat to the shore of Lake Victoria.  It was an incredible couple days.  The goal was to give the leaders a space to cast a vision for NUPECA, and to take ownership of that vision and the organization.  And did they ever. 

They created a five-year vision that includes 100 members, four programs (including support for orphans and adult literacy) and a committment to innovation.  Then we went to the zoo and got to pet rhinos.  Great weekend.


Movin’ on up

I got some great news when I visited our Ugandan partners this morning.  The co-operative that we helped them found, called NUPECA, just rented their first office space!  They got a two room office on the main road through Acholi Quarters where they’ll be able to handle all of their projects.  And as with most things Ugandan, it’s colorful!

Below, Christine and Otto, two of the co-op’s top leaders, stand by their new office.



Acholi Gras + Haiti

Today we’re launching our second annual Acholi Gras clearance sale!  And this time there’s a twist.  We’re donating 100% of the proceeds from this sale to Partners in Health for their relief efforts in Haiti.

So you get incredible discounts on last year’s line of Acholi Beads, and we’ll give 100% of what you spend to help the people suffering in the wake of Haiti’s earthquake.  We’re all about the win-win.

The people of Haiti are suffering many of the same difficulties that our partners in Uganda have been through – their homes are destroyed, they’ve seen loved ones killed, and now they’re displaced without enough food, water, or shelter.  We hurt with them, and we’re glad that our business has the potential to support their relief and recovery.

Shop the Acholi Gras sale here.

Meet Mama Esther

Mama Esther – A Video Portrait from James Pearson on Vimeo.

Acholi Beads brings you a video portrait of one of our first bead makers, Mama Esther. After being attacked twice by the Lord’s Resistance Army, Esther fled with her family to Acholi Quarters. She struggled for more than a decade to support her family, until she found Acholi Beads.

For more info, visit

Business Will Change the World, chapter 4: If you don’t buy it…

Business is the most powerful force shaping our lives, so this chapter asks: How do we guide business to do more good and less harm?

I believe that this question is one of the great callings of our moment in history. If we can aim the unprecedented power of global business in the direction of progress, and I believe we can, then we might not only avert a number of potential crises, we will also make enormous improvements in the lives of billions of people…

read the rest now at

Acholi Beads in Fred Segal!

Starting tonight at 7pm, Acholi Beads will be featured in a window display at internationally renowned retailer Fred Segal, courtesy of our friends at Falling Whistles.  They are hosting an incredible kick-off event tonight at the store.  If you are anywhere near LA, be there.  Details here:

Special Acholi Beads, Falling Whistles joint hang tag.

Special Acholi Beads, Falling Whistles joint hang tag.

Business Will Change the World, chapter 2

Business Will Change The World


Business is the most powerful force shaping the world.  I don’t often use superlatives like ‘biggest,’ ‘best,’ or ‘most powerful,’ because they are usually wrong.  But today I’ll make three assertions, and they will all be superlative.  Although these can’t be definitively proven, there is evidence by the freighter-load to back them up, and it’s headed your way.

1 – Business is the most powerful force shaping the world.
2 – Business is the most powerful force shaping your life.
3 – Your business decisions are the most impactful part of your life.

Assertion # 1: Business is the most powerful force shaping the world.

Perhaps the biggest change in human culture since the advent of agriculture is happening right now – billions of people are moving from rural lands to cities, following the promise of prosperity offered by business.  In Africa and Asia 1 Million people per week are showing up in cities, looking for a future.  As people move off the farms and grazing lands that used to sustain them, they become consumers.  Business’s influence in the world grows with every new family that arrives on the outskirts of a city.

Some of business’s other accomplishments: The percentage of the world population living in extreme poverty has dropped by half since the early 80s.  The average person’s income in the world today is 50x more than it was in the late 1700s, at the kickoff of the Industrial (i.e. Business) Revolution, and that’s adjusted for inflation.  Today there are over 1 billion cars on the roads.  There are over 1 billion computers running Microsoft Windows.  There are over 1 billion people using the Internet.

Maybe bigger, we’re changing the composition of earth’s atmosphere, and the huge majority of that change comes from business – even the gases attributed to cattle are largely from industrial (i.e. business) farms.  With me now?  Let’s move on.

Assertion # 2: Business is the most powerful force shaping your life.

Look around you right now.  How many of the things that you see were made by a business?  …

[Read the rest at]

The Success Chain

If Acholi Beads becomes as big of a success as I believe it will be, it won’t be our success.  It will be the market’s success.  Acholi Beads’ success is testament to our customers and retailers, their belief that business should make the world better, not worse, and their desire to share a connection with a wonderful group of women on the far side of the world.

Our success here at Acholi Beads will be when NUPECA succeeds.  NUPECA is the co-operative of women that handmake every piece of Acholi Beads jewelry.  We helped these women to organize and found NUPECA, and our success will be turning the market success of Acholi Beads to the benefit of these great women.

NUPECA’s success is when the women, families, and communities involved thrive.  When their children have great education, their homes are rebuilt, and their communities are flourishing once again after two decades of war.

That’s how it works.  Success starts with you.  Let’s go there.