Holi Boli Blog Archive

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

2018 August - New Zealand Fashion Weekend Here We Come!

Exciting Holi Boli news....

Wow!  It is amazing how life turns out.  When I chose to come live in the backwoods of India I thought I had traded all the glitter and glam of the fashion world for the heat and dust of beautiful India.  Apparently not!  I am going to the New Zealand Fashion Week (NZFW)  all because of another NZ woman's dream to empower women in rural India.  Jodie Woods started Tonic & Cloth a few years ago and after a chance meeting with Jodie and we hit it off; our universes were very much aligned.  Holi Boli is now proudly manufacturing for Tonic & Cloth.  Just recently, Jodie got a phone call from the people at 'Good Magazine' and was invited to be part of their Sustainability Section at the end of the NZFW in what is being called New Zealand Fashion Weekend.  In turn, Jodie invited me to join her.  Holi Boli have just finished making the outfits for the models.  I am heading to NZ to join Jodie and friends in Auckland for the NZFW.  WOW!  I am super excited and incredibly grateful.  It is funny how life turns out.  This is a dream come true for any NZ fashionista!  Watch Jodie tell the Tonic & Cloth story in an interview below (I am in there on her computer for a bit - LOL):

You gotta love how crazy life turns out.  It will be a pretty quick trip to NZ.  I will spend time with my son who is living with my parents doing year 11.  I will get to see a few Napierites and Hamiltonians.  But mainly I will be in Auckland, which is great, I will be meeting a few people there who I haven't seen in ages and a few for the first time who have been such great influences of Holi Boli without even knowing me.  That always amazes me, people can be so generous!  

OK,  Thanks for letting me share my excitement.  Lots of love to all you sisters!

Kindest Regards,
Ana and the Holi Boli Team.  #loveyoursisters #holiboli


Sunday, 29 July 2018

2018 July - Newsflash

We are super excited to welcome Sanghamitra and Rubina to Holi Boli.  Contracts in hand. Best part of my job! Banita ensures the ladies understand my poor Odia language.  Thanks to u who have supported Holi Boli !  Special thanks Two Lippy Ladies  and Tonic & Cloth 

Monday, 16 July 2018

2018 July - What have CHICKEN EGGS got to do with it?

Ethical and sustainable are buzzy words at the moment.  It seems that many people like the idea of buying ethical and sustainable.  Fair trade is an important brand these days.  Many of us want to know that we are not harming our planet or the life on the planet with the purchases we make.  In my last blog I wrote about the important part we play as consumers and the role that business has in giving consumers the choice to be ethical and sustainable (of course sustainable is part of being ethical and vice-versa).  It is such a buzz at the mo that the New Zealand Fashion Week is having a section on sustainable fashion which Holi Boli is super proud to be a part of through Tonic & Cloth.

Check out the Tonic & Cloth articles in Good Magazine and in Stuff.co.nz

Free Range Chicken Eggs (source: BBC)
So, what has CHICKEN EGGS got to do with it?

Well, it seems that we want ethical and sustainable practices in theory.  We are ready to sign a petition or protest but we are not ready to open our wallets.  According the story I was reading this morning in Stuff.co.nz, "we want free range eggs right up to the point of buying them."  Businesses are listening to the petitions and protesting but we are not backing them up.  We need to open our wallets to make a difference.   The chicken eggs make this point. 

Protesting Caged Chickens (source: Stuff.co.nz)

Of course, I know that we are not all millionaires. And I would agree that the ultimate, in the case of the chickens, is leave the animals alone.   I don't want to argue those points right now.  The point I making now is that we want ethical/sustainable practices in business but we don't want to buy the products of the ethical/sustainable business. Let's change this trend.  Most of us can afford ethical/sustainable options without breaking us financially, if you are not in that camp then I am not preaching at you.  

I believe that right choices, making the tougher calls, are ultimately more satisfying.  I wrote a few years ago about the importance of the ethical/sustainable business to focus on quality and treating our customers like heroes (because when you make the tougher calls to open your wallet you are a hero - like a real life Captain Planet).  That means ethical/sustainable businesses must take leading roles in quality and not expect our heroes to pay more for less quality and poorer service.

Captain Planet (source: tumblr)

Holi Boli plug moment;  at Holi Boli we aim to make clothes that last!  That you can wear over and over.  Quality clothing is a part of the sustainable package because you can hand good clothes on when you are finished with them and the next wearer feels as awesome as you.  We are risk free - if you don't like your Holi Boli product we will exchange it or give you your money back (so long as you haven't worn them out and about).  We expect to provide you with the best quality clothes (we wrote about that too). We want you, our hero customers, to feel as empowered as we do when you buy our products.  That is ethical! Holi Boli products are awesome quality - guaranteed.

We make a difference.  Make ethical and sustainable be more than buzz words.  Lets open our hearts and wallets.  If you have to eat eggs, eat free range.  If you have to wear clothes, wear ethical clothes, wear sustainable clothes.  Be a hero, empower women, empower the planet and empower the free range chickens!

www.holiboli.com  - our dresses are made with love so you will love wearing them!  We empower women in rural Indian through ethical / sustainable fashion.  We run vocational training for women giving them the freedom to make choices and to have status in their village.  Do you want to buy a dress?  

Check out these awesome businesses who have invested into Ethical Fashion:

Friday, 6 July 2018

2018 July - The Important Choice of Empowering Women

Picture Credit: The Economist

In 1967 the UN Member States adopted the Declaration on the Elimination of Discrimination against women.  The articles in the declaration clearly seek to ensure women have equity with men and to have a freedom as a human being to make choices about how to live their life.  In 1979 the Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women was adopted.  It was clear in 1979 that in the 12 years since the Declaration of 1967 there was little being done to bring about the equality and freedom of women in the UN Member States.  The convention went further than the Declaration in that it not only addressed discriminatory laws but it extended its reach to the practices and customs that discriminated against women in a socio-cultural context.  The Convention seeks to eliminate the social, cultural and traditional patterns of discrimination.  The countries of the UN have agreed to supporting these changes in their states and the role of the UN is to hold them accountable to that as a collective group.

So, how are we going?  51 years and counting since the Declaration was signed.  There are 195 countries in the world and 193 are signed on to the United Nations.  Only the Holy See and Palestine are not members.  The Holy See and Palestine aside, there should be some notable differences by now in the way women are treated.  A recent survey found that even in the most egalitarian countries the gender gap is still prevalent.  Norway is 3rd best in the Global Gap Report 2016 for equality between men and women, but still for every $1 earned by a women, a $1.27 is earned by a man.

"On average, for every $1 a woman earned in Norway, a man earned $1.27, which translates to an average annual salary equalling about $57,856 for women and $73,257 for men. Just slightly under 76 percent of Norwegian women are part of the national labour market, while Norwegian men's participation is 80 percent."  (The Local, 2016).

Just recently our beloved India came under the microscope in this area.  Thomson Reuters Foundation produced a report stating that India is the most dangerous country for women.  Reuters quickly reinforced their story with a second one declaring sexual violence in India against women was rife. India was shocked by these reports.  As it so often happens, when in shock denial sets in.  Indian politicians set about falsifying the report with many commentators agreeing with the denial approach.

The Economist subsequently published a story on the extreme lack of equality of women in the Indian workforce describing the amount of women missing from the Indian workforce is a glaring problem.  The Economist does better than Reuters in that it offers India an attractive outcome to rectifying the issue of inequity in the work force; it demonstrates that if India was to re-balance its workforce it would be 27% richer.  In the worlds biggest democracy that number is very significant.

"Men have taken 90% of the 36m additional jobs in industry India has created since 2005. And those who say that women themselves prefer not to work must contend with plenty of counter-evidence. Census data suggest that a third of stay-at-home women would work if jobs were available; government make-work schemes attract more women than men." (The Economist, 2018).

India is an amazing country, the people are incredibly kind, the culture is rich with history and living in a 'right' way is important part of the way of life.  Every country has its issues and they are sore points for that country. Of course Indians will react to having their country seen in such a negative way when there is so many positives also.  The fact is we all do that.  And according to this rant it is extremely evident that the neglect of women's rights it is a pandemic problem.  I am using these articles to demonstrate how little progress we have achieved since the UN signed its Declaration of the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.

Whats the hold up then?

I think we point the finger at others too often.  It seems clear that legislation, declarations and conventions are not working.  We have countries claiming to be better than others yet they still cannot claim to have equal pay (a basic indicator of equality).  It cannot be the governments role to fix this issue.  It has to be us.  We have to begin with our habits, patterns, mind-sets and beliefs.  We cannot change others. We have to change ourselves.  We cannot wait for others to lead us. We have to be prepared to make choices in our daily lives that promote the human rights of others; of women.  I can make a difference when I make a purchase.  Be informed about the product.  Who made it and where was it made?  Does buying this product support women's rights or not?  It takes more effort.  It costs more (because it does not support slavery). BUT YOU CAN MAKE THE DIFFERENCE.

Michael Porter is a Business Lecturer at Harvard University.  He demonstrates some of the issues and benefits we have in seeing business as part of the solution.   While there are always naysayers with regards to business as a social change agent I think he makes a great point.  Some people say that the problem with business as change agent is that we do not get a say in how they operate and a lack of trust.  Business is compared to a trustworthy government which you vote for.  I disagree.  I think governments have proven to be equally untrustworthy at times.  As far as voting is concerned, I think we hold all the power when it comes to businesses with regards to social change and business ethics.  We vote with our wallets.  Michael Porter eludes to this when he demonstrates that the issue with NGOs as a social change agent is the lack of finances in NGOs.  Whereas businesses have finances and therefore have the 'scale' that NGOs do not.  We have given these businesses that scale and ability to shape our world.  Maybe if we are as careful with our wallets as we are with our voting papers we would realize the massive impact our choices can make.

That is why Holi Boli exists (shameless plug).  We want to help you to make a difference in the world by offering products that are beautiful for you to wear but also empower women in rural India.  There are other companies with the same ethos.  We offer high quality products, beautifully made with the back story of trying to make a positive difference in the lives of those who work there.  We use our profits to empower others and offer vocational training to women who will not even work at Holi Boli but they're enabled to sew from home and earn their own money, work at a local tailor shop, a few ladies have opened their own sewing school to help others, or opened their own 'ladies tailor' shop.  It really is the ultimate win-win.  We win, you win, our women win and India wins.  As you support these companies, the others take notice where you are spending and why you are spending.  That is what businesses do.  Take McDonalds for example, you demanded coffee, you demanded healthier options and McDonalds responded.  Your selective purchasing forces other companies to comply to the standards and culture your choices have dictated.

Of course, it is more complicated that just this.  However, let us not underrate the influence our choices have on the world.  I couldn't help as I read through the above articles over the last few weeks and be reminded how important all this is.  WE make a difference through our choices.  It is us!  We are responsible!

Buy ethically made.  Buy earth sustainable.  Buy quality.

Find brands and businesses that support the principles that make a positive difference in the world.  Don't be a finger pointer. It is up to us to make the important choice to Empower women.