The concept of a Social Enterprise is an inspiring one and I have seen more businesses adopting this trend lately. Some examples include Toms Shoes, Bombas Socks, Newman’s Own, and Soma Water. The term social enterprise has been evolving rapidly in recent years. Social Enterprise Alliance suggests the following basic working definition: “Organizations that address a basic unmet need or solve a social or environmental problem through a market-driven approach.” My much more loose definition would be a business that does more than profits the owners, it transforms the lives of others as well. This positive transformation can happen through community improvement for the workers or through fund raising for a cause.
Looking for successful social enterprise examples? Great! Because I want to share with you a social enterprise business, Yellow Leaf Hammocks, that operates through the opportunity employment model. It employs people who have significant barriers to mainstream employment. This social entrepreneurial example creates a positive environmental impact at the same time.
Looking For Social Enterprise Examples? Check Out Yellow Leaf Hammocks For Feel Good Inspiration
Did you ever feel like you could change the world? Maybe you would like to save the rainforests? Or end poverty or help little kids go to school and build a better future? Maybe you want to eradicate deforestation? Create a sustainable economic opportunity for people living in poverty? Or even support cultural preservation and autonomy?
Like you could definitely, definitely help change the world. If you could just find some time! In between battling up the corporate ladder, stressing over your commute, and never-ending piles of laundry, it can be a challenge. Plus, there is getting some dinner on the table and calling your mom to say “hi”. And then suddenly you just want to lie down. And take a nap!
What if you found out that just by spending 10 minutes in a hammock each day, you could change the world? Would you do it?
The idea behind Yellow Leaf Hammocks is just that. Yellow Leaf Hammocks is built upon our “Do Good. Relax.” philosophy. They want customers to revel in the ultimate version of multi-tasking. By kicking back and relaxing in an insanely comfortable hammock, they can participate in a “Hammocking Revolution”. They will be helping to eradicate deforestation and creating a sustainable economic opportunity for people living in poverty. Furthermore, they will be supporting cultural preservation and autonomy.
How Can Relaxing Change the World?
Yellow Leaf Hammocks came into being as a long-shot effort. An attempt to bring an endangered tribe, the Mlabri, back from being enslaved and on the brink of extinction. There are just 300 Mlabri left in the world and they are listed on UNESCOs “Endangered Languages List”. It has grown into a larger movement to combat illegal deforestation and end the desperate poverty of hill tribe villages in Southeast Asia.
There are just 300 Mlabri left in the world and they are listed on UNESCOs “Endangered Languages List”
In Thailand and Laos, hill tribes like the Mlabri are among the most marginalized groups of society. They are faced with a complex web of social, economic, and environmental obstacles. The Mlabri way of life was devastated when the land around them was claimed and deforested. Moreover, hill tribes like the Mlabri often lack access to basic social services like education and health care. That is not to mention opportunities for long-term development, income stability and civil rights.
In hill tribe communities, 75-100% of children work in fields alongside their parents. The children of weavers are able to attend school instead without going hungry.
A social enterprise, not a charity.
The weavers they partner with are empowered by their work, rather than dependent upon aid. That makes this an example of social enterprise not charity. Highly trained artisans hand-weave incredibly intricate, beautiful and durable hammocks. The quality and comfort of their work surpasses the current top-selling hammocks. They can command a high value on the global market. This ability to earn a consistent wage through flexible work is key to the Mlabri’s cultural preservation. It has proven to be a viable solution to eradicating illegal deforestation. It creates a stable micro-economy within the communities they partner with.
For each weaver hired, 5 people are removed from contributing to deforestation and toxic farming in Phrae Province. It is typical for an entire family to work together clearing fields for slash & burn agriculture. This is unnecessary with weaving income.
A typical weaver experiences a 650% increase in income. This means that a weaver can earn more in one week than her whole family could earn in a month of back-breaking field labor.
Weavers can work from the comfort of their home. Or work in the village community center- where they can watch over their young children as they play outside. Weavers work when they like and choose their own hours. This removes significant barriers to employment. And most importantly, the workers are paid fairly. It also empowers workers with a skill that can allow them to become artisans. Skilled labor get better wages.
In working with weavers from among the Mlabri and Hmong villages they have accorded priority to women and the elderly. Women and older women in particular had lived on the margins, both socially and economically. With their valuable contributions, their status in society is improved, as is their self-esteem. Such a beautiful example of a social enterprise making a positive difference in the world!
Yellow Leaf Hammocks Success
Yellow Leaf Hammocks are hand-woven using a durable, super-soft, and weatherproof yarn is remarkably strong (supporting up to 550 lbs). An incredible 4.3 miles of yarn is used for the most intricate hammocks, which take 10 days to weave! The resulting design is so beautiful that many think of the hammocks as functional works of art.
Yellow Leaf Hammocks are 100% hand-woven, weatherproof, colorfast, and super-soft!
With the secure income from the hammock project, the Mlabri are finally able to live on their own terms. As talented, well-compensated artisans, they can no longer be enslaved on toxic farms. They can no longer be denied Thai citizenship and civil rights. Independent of charity, they can foster self-respect and protect their culture. Further, they can take pride in the fact that their handiwork far surpasses the quality of current hammocks on the market. Their creations are not mere trinkets, but offer a true benefit to consumers. In time, we hope to be able to support the weavers’ lifestyle for all Mlabri. We’d like to replicate this enterprise as a sustainable model for international aid and development.
I hope you enjoyed learning about these social enterprise examples. What a cool idea! With that, I invite you to join in the Hammock Revolution. Shop Yellow Leaf Hammocks, spread their story, and do good!
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