Aldo Group’s footwear brand Call It Spring has collaborated with social enterprise Me to We on a #Wecallitchange initiative, a limited-edition line of accessories that will support communities in Kenya. The company has enlisted actress Bailee Madison and “Dancing with the Stars” winner Jordan Fisher to design the pieces alongside the Call It Spring team and the Kenyan Maasai Mamas themselves.
“A lot of our staff grew up volunteering with Me to We. We thought they were an amazing charity doing amazing work and helping to engage young people. The Call It Spring customer is young and very international, so Me to We is a natural fit,” David Bensadoun, CEO of Aldo Group, told FN regarding the partnership.
The capsule collection features three handcrafted pieces of jewelry, two bracelets (retailing for $10 each) and one necklace ($12). Each item corresponds with its respective initiative that Me to We supports: Education, Clean Water and Opportunity. The Maasai Mamas of the various We-supported communities in Kenya use traditional techniques to craft the pieces, which go on sale starting today.
One hundred percent of the net proceeds will go directly back to the community that helped create them, and Call It Spring has committed to matching all sales in order to provide an additional donation. According to the company, this means that the launch will provide access to dire resources (clean water, school supplies or financial literacy training) for at least 14,275 people.
Fisher chose Water as his pillar of focus, which led him to a weeklong volunteer trip in Kenya, where he worked on his beaded bracelet. With the purchase of one of the black, silver and blue bracelets, We is able to provide access to clean water to one person in the Maasai Mama community.
Madison honed in on the Opportunity pillar, resulting in the development of the gold triple-chain necklace in the collection. The sale of one Opportunity necklace will provide one woman with access to financial literacy.
Rounding out the assortment is the Education bracelet, which will provide school supplies to one child for a year with each purchase. Call It Spring partnered with a community of digital influencers who will utilize the hashtag #Wecallitchange to raise awareness about the cause.
Bensadoun himself also traveled to Kenya, where he learned about the surrounding communities firsthand.
“We got to visit the workshop where the Mamas do the beading and build the accessories. In the rural areas, women would never have a job outside the home. This has really been a game-changer for them. In most of the villages we visited, the women now make more money than their husbands, who are typically farmers, laborers or [jobs of that nature], so it’s given the women a lot of flexibility,” he said.
“Me to Ww empowers both men and women, but given the situation in a lot of our communities, women have been disempowered in their ability to earn an income, so that’s where Me to We’s focus has been and why it’s been important for Call It Spring to frame its collections around the artisans’ programs, empowering women to create their own sources of income,” added Bensadoun.
It’s the Maasai Mamas’ highly specialized skills in craftmaking and beading that led to a collection of accessories as the key products for the launch. However, the future could potentially hold opportunities to expand into footwear. For now, the brand’s focus is on the level of empowerment and access to jobs that the partnership provides.
“We are still exploring the idea [of shoes], but it’s always a possibility. Our main priority is ensuring that all of the Call It Spring products affiliated with the partnership respect and support the local communities and also empower our customers to create meaningful social change through their purchases. 1,400 + women are now employed full time through the Me to We Artisans Initiative, and we are committed to strengthening that program through our partnership with Me to We,” said Bensadoun.
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