Global Girlfriend Empowers Women Around the World

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by Phyllis Kennemer

Start small. Dream big. Change lives. This is the essence of Global Girlfriend.

Stacey Edgar had big dreams. She envisioned a world in which poor women everywhere would be empowered. She believed that women had the strength and the motivation to move out of poverty, to create desirable products, and to become successful business people.

In 2003, at the age of 32, Edgar received a $2,000 tax refund. Inspired by her deep desire to help women become economically independent, she used the money to buy hand-crafted items from foreign artisans. The fledgling Global Girlfriend business was born. Local friends and neighbors in her suburban Denver community supported her by attending and hosting parties with the purpose of purchasing these handmade creations. As the business continued to grow, Edgar reinvested the proceeds, increased her product base, and within the past eight years, has expanded her company into a multi-million dollar enterprise.

From the beginning, Edgar knew that she wanted to provide good quality, eco-friendly products and that she wanted to engage in fair trade practices. She was determined that disadvantaged women would earn a reasonable wage for their work. She calculated the cost of materials, transportation, time and labor involved and negotiated equitable terms. When she selected a product, she gave a 50 percent advance to the women so they could purchase the materials to get started. She did not want them to have to make choices between buying food for their families or necessary supplies for their creations.

As the business has expanded, the Global Girlfriend staff has been able to provide product design and technical assistance, as well as training in basic business skills necessary for success. Women have learned, or increased their proficiency, in such enterprises as sewing, knitting, embroidery, weaving, jewelry making, gardening, shoe-making and carpentry. Programs for health care, literacy and credit management have also been developed.

The company started as an online enterprise for both the acquisition of goods and sales to the public. As the market has expanded, Global Girlfriend products have been placed in Whole Food stores and boutiques and yoga studios throughout the United States and Canada. In 2007, Global Girlfriend merged with Greater Good, an independent charitable organization devoted to improving the health and wellbeing of people, animals and the planet through providing funding to registered charitable organizations. Funds generated through this family of websites go directly to worthwhile organizations dedicated to the welfare of the global community.

When Edgar started out in 2003, she did even have a passport — had never been outside the United States. Since that time she has traveled throughout the world meeting, encouraging and helping women to rise up from poverty and claim their power. She shares her experiences in her book, Global Girlfriends (St. Martins Press, 2011), mentioning many specific people and experiences that have become part of her worldwide venture.

In addition to marketing handmade articles, Edgar offers opportunities for making donations to worthy causes throughout the U.S. and the world. She originated Gifts That Give More™ as a venue for supporting people in need. Donations can be made for direct help to impoverished families and a variety of worthwhile causes including: hunger and poverty, breast cancer and women’s health, care and feeding of rescued animals, aid for veterans, autism support, children’s health and wellbeing, literacy and children’s education, and protecting and restoring the environment.

Stacey Edgar is a young woman making a difference. She began her project with a small investment; she stayed focused on her dream of helping women worldwide; and she has changed innumerable lives.

You can visit the Global Girlfriend Shop to purchase a variety of items including apparel, handbags and accessories, bath and body products, gifts and goodies, and handmade papers.

Dr. Phyllis K. Kennemer is a Certified Veriditas Labyrinth Facilitator. She is a life-long learner and educator with a specialty in children’s literature.

November/December 2011

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Give the Gift of Conscious Consumerism!
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Global Girlfriend Empowers Women Around the World
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The 12 Gifts of Christmas: #2 Happiness
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The 12 Gifts of Christmas: #3 Inspiration
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The 12 Gifts of Christmas: #4 Life
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The 12 Gifts of Christmas: #5 Your Heart’s Song
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The 12 Gifts of Christmas: #6 Radical Self Care
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The 12 Gifts of Christmas: #7 Freedom
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The 12 Gifts of Christmas: #8 Self Love
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The 12 Gifts of Christmas: #9 Self
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The 12 Gifts of Christmas: #10 Encouragement
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The 12 Gifts of Christmas: #11 Gratitude
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The 12 Gifts of Christmas: #12 Peace
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