Visiting 31 Bits :: From Meredith
We had SO many reasons to celebrate this Summer.
Not only did we graduate 26 (!!) incredible, empowered, and thriving beneficiaries from the 31 Bits Program, but we were also able to host two ladies that have worked with 31 Bits for several years. Meredith Hazan and Lauren Cone are not only sales reps for 31 Bits, they have truly become like family! To finally be able to send them to Uganda and introduce them to our team out there was a DREAM come true!
But why take our word for it? We thought it would be fun to hear from them, firsthand about their experience…. Take it away, Meredith!
“Once I started working with 31 Bits, it didn’t take long for me to become determined to visit their headquarters in Uganda.
You see, after spending years in the fashion industry, I had grown tired of the conspicuous & sometimes reckless consumption that’s so prevalent. In response I sought out eco-friendly companies focused on marrying sophisticated design with responsible materials & a smaller footprint, happy to support progress in contemporary fashion. Imagine what a revelation 31 Bits was to me & still is to those like me who see their beautiful products & hear theirstory of affecting lasting change. As a 31 Bits wholesale representative, one of my most important goals is to effectively communicate to store owners & buyers just how special 31 Bits is. By going to Gulu & meeting those whose lives are being changed thanks to 31 Bits’ program, I’d be able to speak to retailers about the brand in a more personal & compelling way.
Plus, who am I kidding, I wanted to see Uganda & what better time than for a Bits graduation!!? And that is how I ended up celebrating the Class of 2016, five years (and a 25-hour journey!) after my introduction to 31 Bits.
I knew the experience would be moving. What I didn’t expect was how closely I identified with the ladies I met as entrepreneurs, as self-reliant hardworking women determined to create opportunities for themselves & their families.
They didn’t start out this way though. After being displaced by war, most were fighting just to survive, to provide for their children’s basic needs. Many suffered from serious injuries & have ongoing health issues like HIV.
Beneficiaries aren’t chosen based on education or qualification but by evaluating those with the greatest need. 31 Bits has stepped in to instill in them a renewed sense of purpose & possibility. After 5 years, these women emerge from the program transformed into confident, able breadwinners.
As an entrepreneur myself, I know how invaluable the kind of guidance and support provided by the team at 31 Bits is. I’m also reminded that so many of our retail partners are independent, female-owned and run businesses. Many 31 Bits graduates pursue retail businesses themselves & share the same goals & dreams as we do. Who among us couldn’t use champions like 31 Bits in our lives?
31 Bits is changing the definition of what’s possible in the fashion business. Not only are they making products that people want to buy & wear, they’re doing it using responsible materials & methods, all while giving their beneficiaries the tools they need to sustain themselves & their families on their own.
Above all, the profound joy, pride, & determination I saw on the faces & heard in the voices of 26 graduates this summer speaks volumes about what drives my work with 31 Bits.
I hope their consumers are just as inspired to expect more from their purchases.”