UPDATES BELOW 5/14/15
Supporting Opportunities for Women in Need (SOWN) founders, Karyn Suwito and Tammy Sanchez, share a common goal to empower women by creating a path toward financial independence.
SOWN’s first product is a multi-purpose baby wrap produced by women who have completed job-ready programs conducted by Los Angeles organizations such as Chrysalis or the Downtown Women’s Center. Through its unique design, the baby wrap serves three purposes: a baby wrap, breast-feeding cover, and stroller cover. Wraps traditionally have a short shelf life, but SOWN’s product is able to extend that life by adding two additional functions.
Market research has revealed a $25 million market for baby products in Los Angeles County alone -- and the market continues to thrive as babies are born every second of every day. Recent studies have demonstrated the social-emotional benefit of wrapping babies and we have also validated the need for a multi-purpose wrap through a survey and focus groups.
Every year, millions of women try to escape poverty by migrating to find employment. Instead, they end up in squalid living conditions and are often physically or sexually assaulted. That fate can be avoided if they have access to stable income sources in their own communities: Studies show that when the rate of female participation in the labor force rises, local economies experience significant reductions in poverty rates.
SOWN recognizes no one can make it without the support of others, so in addition to employing women we will encourage our customers to become advocates of women’s empowerment. Our target market is the millennial mother: 85% of moms believe it’s important for companies to support a cause and 73% are willing to try a new product because of its affiliation with a cause (Cone, 2013). SOWN’s baby wraps will be sold online both individually and in baby shower kits that will include party essentials, an informational video and advocacy materials: The celebrations will serve a dual purpose by giving participants an opportunity to help create change.
SOWN’s founders envision a world with equal opportunity for all women, the ability for them to choose their own futures, and the resources they need to create the lives they want. Our mission is to provide transitional employment for women with unequal access to educational and employment resources -- and to simultaneously create products significant to the socially conscious consumer.
SOWN strives to create a model so that it could be applied to other social enterprises that are creating a product or service. This would be the sustainable social impact that we want to create locally, and globally.
This is just a little bit of background out how we got this idea started. We are both very passionate about gender equality and find this the root of our solutions and problems. We find financial independence and financial knowledge an important factor when trying to achieve gender equality. We find that often times men and women don't work together and don't see the benefit of shared responsibility and financial gain. We need to reintroduce the idea of a strong team and partnership in creating family. Men must be included in the conversation because they are half of the solution. In creating a platform first in the social enterprise space then in the private sector space for true job experience for people in underserved communities and just out of job ready programs, we are giving people real opportunities to learn and observe the benefits of working together. Not to outweigh the importance of personal financial empowerment. We at SOWN believe that no one can achieve anything without their support network. We truly rely on each other to make change. To financially empower those who need it most, well established businesses, social enterprises, and non profit organizations can work together to pledge to mentor and hire people in their communities that need the opportunity most. Below are some links you can click to get to know us a little better. We are new graduates from Pepperdine University. We're walking to get our masters this weekend, so family has been in town making it busy! We are truly so passionate about this cause and appreciate everyones thoughtful feedback and support. This OPEN IDEO challenge has really expanded and pushed our mission and vision. THANK YOU!
Link to short video on what drives our work:
Link to our pitch for our social enterprise SOWN that is committed to created transitional jobs for people who have come out of job ready programs:
*Disclaimer: it is not the best quality but you guys will get a glimpse of our first pitch ever.