Products that Empower
Why? Because People Matter.
and Stuff is never just Stuff.
Stuff is made by real people, with real hopes & dreams and real value.
When we choose to buy ethically-made products, we choose to sustainably support REAL people.
Sparrow Society #KnowWhoMadeIt
95% women: 23 full time staff + 100 Seamstresses (in SewBOSS Program)
Our main project, Sparrow Society, is focused on the recruitment, training and job creation in the textile manufacturing industry. Through this program, seamstresses are trained to manufacture high-quality branded tote bags and zip bags for a wide range of retailers and global cosmetic brands. Our training focuses on upskilling seamstresses to reach a high level of quality, consistency and reliability in order to retain and grow client list, both locally and abroad. This program provides flexible work opportunities in a dignifying and safe environment for women with good earning potential and opportunities for advancement. Shop Now or View our Branded & Bespoke Offerings.
Sparrow Society is not a traditional factory, but rather works through the creation of a network of over 100 home-based seamstresses (SewBoss), empowering women with basic business skills and a support network to allow her flexibility and ownership, while maintaining access to ongoing work opportunities and peer support to keep her business sustainable.
- We focus on upskilling sewing skills as well as training in Quality, Consistency and Reliability with a focus on customer care and expectations to help her grow her client list and increase economic opportunity.
Sales & Entrepreneurship Training – 100% women
- We Rise is an empowerment program developed by Sparrow Society that aims to empower young women in South Africa with the skills development, confidence, experience and network to jump-start her professional career in sales and entrepreneurship.
- Each mentee is trained and set up with a start up coffee sales business to learn the basics of running a small business and customer care. She is matched up with a Sales and Business Mentor who will walk with her through her learning and sales journey.
- The We Rise program provides a great start up opportunity to put basic business and sales skills into practice and get valuable business mentorship as she develops her own business plan and strategy with new products. Other products (in addition to the coffee) will be identified through ongoing course work by the participants as they identify community needs and gaps in the market for potential new product launches. This opportunity extends all the knowledge and skills they have learned throughout the program to develop new ideas and potential opportunities.
Entrepreneurship Training for Youth (age 16-25) – 100% women 100% Youth
“Empowering girls with a choice for a brighter future through Entrepreneurship”
The Young Entrepreneur Society is a course developed specifically for high school aged girls to introduce them to entrepreneurship themes and opportunities to develop their own business plan and get input from a business mentor.
Originally provided as a 5 day in-person course, the content is now being created into an app in order to reach a much farther range of young women with modern technology on the devices they find themselves on for hours a day!
Founder, Kate Senekal, shares the story behind the brand:
Creating high quality products is incredibly important to us, not only to satisfy our customers, but because it fulfills one of our core missions to truly empower, uplift and train our Creators to be their very best. Creating an ethos of EXCELLENCE is paramount to this goal.
We have strict quality control guidelines to make sure all our products look exactly the way they are supposed to. Because we sell online and in largely wholesale capacities, it is very important to us to create our products with a consistency that our customers can trust.
We are a brand that cares. We care that you have deadlines. We care about your time and your investment. We do our very best to ensure that the promises we make are always kept. We go the extra mile to ensure that we are able to fulfill deadlines for orders placed and that a quality product is always delivered.
No more frumpy fair-trade goods that are only bought out of pity. Part of creating dignifying work is to create beautiful products that people actually WANT to buy. We never want anyone to purchase our goods out of pity for our creators, but because they value the craftmanship that went into making it.
Sustainable economic empowerment is one of the keys to a flourishing future for any country. To empower someone with the means to provide for their family has much further reaching impact that merely putting food on the table. A hand up is better than a hand out. We are constantly looking for new opportunities to provide this means of empowerment in various fields and have several projects running in a variety of industries: textile, coffee, jewelry, and tech (coming soon!).
Sparrow Society very proudly follows standardized Fair Trade Principles. So many of the clothes, accessories and gadgets we buy are made in sweatshops with no way for us to check up on fair labour practices. Often companies will prioritize their profit margins over the safety and dignity of the people actually making their products. Our company was built for the people, not the products, so we make sure to pay our amazing creators the wages they deserve plus benefits (including retirement annuity and risk benefits) and offer business support for those wanting to move on and start their own brands and companies.
Many of our Creators come to us with very little skill and even less experience. We train in basic employable skills as well as provide a structured environment within which our Creators learn the importance of quality, consistency and doing everything with excellence. We also upskill in sewing, textile printing methods and various other creative and admin tasks. For those with entrepreneurial leanings, they can take it one step further with our Creative Business Course and Enterprise Development opportunities.
We have over 100 SewBOSSes that have gone through basic business orientation and are set up to run a sewing business from their home. They are able to further upskill themselves through our Creative Business Course and tech training courses which allows them an opportunity to take their business even further.
The WeRise Coffee Program develops a network of small businesses focused on sales and customer service.
We also assist those who have developed their own product line and brand with product development to get their product to standards to sell in traditional marketplaces and even ready for exporting.
We have also had the immense privilege of sowing our profits back into other communities and African countries through the YES Girl Project entrepreneur training program (also running in South Africa).