A Force for Good
When we began Woven we had one mission in mind. To create impact.
Woven wasn’t built around the idea of making a lot of money (although money can serve as a tool for change), instead it was built around a passion for fighting a problem and supporting people. Our mission to create impact stemmed from a problem. Artisans in Guatemala were facing extreme poverty and struggled to sell enough of their products locally to sustain themselves. Hannah, our founder, bought a few items and brought them back to the U.S. to see how they would sell. She sold out instantly and saw an opportunity to create a business around these beautiful loomed creations while empowering the artisan behind each creation.
Here at Woven, we find that approaching the way we do business through Human-Centered Design Thinking is one of the best ways to ensure impactful change. As social entrepreneurs, we must ask ourselves, “What problem are we solving exactly?” If it isn’t apparent right away, it might be best to take a step back and do some further research.
The social entrepreneur dives deeper. What is the ROOT of the problem? Why is there a problem, what is causing it, and can it be fixed or altered to create a more sustainable system? That is what we call a Human-Centered Approach, a framework for creating solutions by focusing on the needs of the people that the solutions will ultimately serve.
For so long, businesses have started around an idea and not a problem. How often do you hear someone claim they have an enormous problem they can solve? When we rewire the way we think about business, we can get to the root of issues and begin to implement change and progress. In the case of Woven, the business was created after Hannah (our founder) saw a disparity in the economic conditions among indigenous communities in Guatemala. At first, she thought the root of the issue was a lack of access to markets and that artisans simply needed a platform to sell their woven pieces. After a year of iterating products and spending time with artisans, she realized that lack of access to markets was only a symptom of the main problem. The real root of the problem artisan were facing was a lack of education, opportunities for skill development, and understanding of international quality standards for artisan products. After getting to know artisans, observing and discussing possible solutions with them, Woven Futures came into fruition. The individuals living through the problem are the true experts, so even today as a two year old startup, we are continually progressing and learning in order to best serve our artisans.
“The individuals living through the problem are the true experts”
For all those who aspire to start or support a social enterprise, we salute and encourage you! Imagine a world where everyone chooses what matters most to them and used Human-Centered Design Thinking, empowerment strategies, passion, and empathy to create a better tomorrow.