Fair Anita was built on a vision--
One where women and girls can grow up feeling safe, respected, and valued no matter their geography.
We came to this vision through the simple act listening. In 2009, our founder Joy McBrien set out to learn about violence against women in Peru, which has one of the highest rates of reported domestic violence in the world. During the months she spent building a women’s shelter in Chimbote, Peru, Joy met many survivors of domestic violence and learned about their stories of survival and resilience. Each of these women expressed that jobs are the single most important resource for women experiencing domestic violence, knowing that sustainable income would help empower them to leave an abusive partner. Joy founded Fair Anita from the lessons she learned in Chimbote, and to this day our work remains grounded in supporting women’s resilience through responsive business relationships.
Ana, fondly referred to as Senora Anita by her adoring community, is the sort of empathetic leader we aspire to be. Ana is the social worker in Chimbote, Peru, a town of nearly 400,000 people, where 80% of the population lives in extreme poverty and 70% of women report having experienced domestic violence. Ana makes each individual feel cared for, looking after everyone's needs and treating everyone fairly. Walking down the street with her, every few steps you're stopped by someone running to hug Senora Anita and thank her for her commitment to improving the lives of women and children in Chimbote. Ana taught us that when you improve a woman's life, her family and community improves right along with her. She taught us the power of women investing in other women, and it is her leadership that inspired Fair Anita.
Get a feel for Anita's genius; watch our interview with her:
Fair Anita is a social enterprise that exists to create opportunities for women and girls, selling trendy (and affordable!) fair trade products made by over 8,000 talented yet marginalized women in 16 countries. In other words, we are women investing in other women.
In 16 countries and counting, we partner with female artisan collectives and provide them with fair wages, long-term employment and business development opportunities.
By paying artisans at least three-times the minimum wage, we generate income for women that helps them respond to violent gender dynamics in their community.
By committing to reliable partnerships, we help our partners grow their businesses and provide more women with paths to economic independence.
By connecting resilient and talented artisans with new markets and customers, we're helping women be leaders in their communities.
We aim to create a community of women who celebrate, support, and invest in one another's success, building a world where we can all thrive, no matter our geography.
We work to empower women in four main ways:
Selling fair trade products: We invest financially in the success of our female artisan partners around the world, paying at least 3x the minimum wage and making sure women have access to the resources they need.
Promoting skill and talent development: We work with the women to increase their competencies, allowing their businesses to grow and enabling them to hire more women. By investing in women’s design skills, business acumen and pricing strategies, we're helping women be leaders in their communities on the national and international level.
Hosting workshops: As women investing in other women, we aim to inspire female entrepreneurship and provide women with business skills and resources. We do this through workshops, mentorship roles and networking events across the U.S.
Philanthropic giving: As a social enterprise, we use commercial strategies to improve human well-being. Basically, we’re a do-good business, and we use part of our profits to support other causes that further our mission of creating opportunities for women and girls around the world.
Read more about our method and our impact in our first two years of operations here:
- First Annual Benefit Report, covering impact Jan. 1, 2015- Dec. 31, 2015
- Second Annual Benefit Report, covering impact Jan. 1, 2016- Dec. 31, 2016
Our work to create dignified economic opportunities for marginalized women contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) put forward by the United Nations. Specifically, we seek to impact: #5) Gender Equality, #8) Decent work and Economic Growth, and #12) Responsible Consumption and Production.
Watch our Founder's TEDx talk, entitled "How Women Rise" to hear more about the inspiration behind starting Fair Anita.
Joy McBrien, CEO & Founder
Joy McBrien started Fair Anita with an undying passion to create opportunities to women and girls around the world. With 10+ years selling mission-based products and experience founding and working with women’s artisan groups in 18+ countries, Joy is thrilled to be working to build Fair Anita and expand the mission she cares so much about. She founded her first jewelry business Joylery (ha!) at age 15, so working with pretty products comes naturally to her! She has worked with thousands of women around the world, using her empathetic nature to understand circumstances and develop creative solutions, including having built a battered women's shelter in Peru and working at a girl-focused middle school in St Paul. Joy has been recognized for her leadership in this space, awards including: Top Ten Outstanding Young Minnesotans 2015, Open Hands Initiative Fellow 2015, Minnesota Business Magazine's 35 Entrepreneurs Under 35, and the Real Power 50 Award. Joy is a part of the Global Shapers community, and she was chosen to represent women's issues at the World Economic Forum's conference on Overcoming Social and Economic Exclusion with His Holiness Pope Francis. She absolutely adores her work with Fair Anita, and she's totally an open book-- shoot her an email anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Anna Bottila, Operations Manager
As Operations Manager at Fair Anita, Anna gets to fulfill her goal of making the world a better place for women. Anna oversees inventory, orders, and pop-up sales. She loves working with customers and wholesale partners, and of course traveling the world to visit artisans. Prior to joining the Fair Anita team, she helped manage a fair trade gift shop and taught in a girl-focused STEM school. Anna likes to golf, read, swim, and garden in her free time.
Pj Valenciano, Digital Marketing Manager
Pj is an artist-entrepreneur based in the Philippines with a passion for jewelry, fashion, art, and women's empowerment. She's the founder of Palamuti Storytelling Jewels, an entrepreneurial venture focusing on handmade products by local Filipino women artisans, with a mission to empower women from poor rural and urban communities in the Philippines. She hopes to provide economic opportunity to women through fair employment. a commonality between her own business and her work with Fair Anita. One of her goals is to be involved on grassroots levels with different communities, and she's always looking for opportunities to share her skills and talents. She has an innate passion for storytelling, which she brings to Fair Anita as she crafts our blog posts and social media.
Cara Lahti, Marketing Strategy Associate
For a person that has a million different passions, Cara’s work with Fair Anita is a perfect fit. It allows her to connect with people in the fashion and design industries, help women across the globe, and experience cultures outside of her own. She is a strong supporter of all things just and is an active member of anti-trafficking programs and equal rights groups. When she is not at sales or on her computer for Fair Anita, she is most likely in a studio rehearsing for her next dance performance or traveling with a friend. Cara also enjoys reading and hiking.
Jaci loves working for Fair Anita because she gets to be involved with helping women. She loves working at sales and seeing peoples' faces light up when they see the gorgeous jewelry and other products we have to offer. As she is interested in women's studies and equality, as well as fashion, this is the perfect job for Jaci. Jaci's other interests include drawing, listening to music and running.
Allie is a freshman at the University of Minnesota. With her great love for communication, Fair Anita was a natural fit for her to share her love of our products with customers! She plans to major in business and finance so she likes gaining experience in business through working with Fair Anita; it helps her know what she can expect after college. Allie's interests are playing saxophone and exploring different cultural foods.
Through her time in college at the University of Wisconsin River Falls, Taylor studied Sociology and Sustainability, and she has been able to find an intersection between those two fields in Fair Trade. Her interest in fair trade led her to research consumers' understanding of the topic in the Twin Cities, and this is how she discovered Fair Anita. Working with Fair Anita makes her feel like she is a part of something that makes the world more equal. When not at Fair Anita, Taylor is probably baking, sewing, reading, or spending time outside.