Dear Ibu Allies,
Nine years ago, I founded Ibu for two reasons:
- to put money in the hands of women for their overlooked artisanal skills,
- to preserve, through those unparalleled skills, the many cultural languages of craft passed generationally from mother to daughter.
I wanted women in economically challenging regions to develop business skills that would far outlast my involvement in their work, and so began Ibu as an LLC, a business.
Then, just three years ago, recognizing the need to bring women's artisanal groups to a level playing field, the Ibu Foundation (non-profit) was added to support their internal capacity and provide workspaces, supplies, training.
We've grown. Our retail survived COVID and kept artisans in work. Our grants kept groups in viable working conditions. Now, we look ahead to our tenth year and the ten years which follow, more determined than ever to create lasting, substantive impact in the world of global women rising into self-authorized lives.
To meet this challenge, I find that now is the time for Ibu to streamline its organization and unite forces to take the Movement to the next level.
And so, for this reason, I have made the decision to give the privately owned Ibu retail operation to the Ibu Foundation. From this time forward, Ibu Movement will be one not-for-profit 501c3 organization, all proceeds from the Ibu Marketplace feeding into the vision and work of the whole.
It is time. It is the way forward. It is thrilling.
You'll see small changes which reflect big impact. Our well-loved logos now wave under one new banner, (above). Our two websites live in one home (ibumovement.org), our teams collaborate as one brilliant whole. Here is the way the Movement is moving forward:
- The new ibumovement.org now champions two forms of artisan support: Capacity Building Grants and the purchase of Artisan Goods.
- Revenue from the Ibu Marketplace (our store and online sales) covers the cost of retail operations and marketing of those goods to an ever wider audience. All proceeds from sales go directly into the larger work of the Foundation.
- The Ibu Foundation Board will be responsible for the governance, budget, and overall direction of Ibu as we move forward.
- The Board has asked me to serve as President/CEO of the non-profit to provide vision and continuity.
- Our remarkable team works together at our Ibu Hub in Charleston where the showroom, studio, event space, and offices unite. We now have six brilliant leaders in each of these fields:
Marisa Nemirow , COO + Director of Design and Production
Hannah Blatt, Director of Artisan Support
Lasley Steever, Director of Community Engagement
Laura Kappus, Director of Sales
Meredith Gale, Director of Development
Sarah Blanford, Website and Communications Manager
There is so much more to tell, and I will be writing you about striking developments in the coming weeks. This moment is a culmination and a continuation of all that I have worked toward at Ibu, and I am full of gladness to share it with you. None of this is possible without you, your unceasingly generous support over nine years, and your commitment to the women of the world as together, together with one another, we rise.
All the best,