Thursday, July 12, 2012

Retail Outlet Exchanges Unskilled to Entreprenuers

Hand Crafted Rug Bag
After the Civil War, there was a nationwide exchange movement to help women in need discreetly earn a living.   It was not considered ladylike to take on a job outside the home.  In Baltimore an outlet was formed called The Woman's Industrial Exchange.

By 1880 the operation was so successful that a retail shop opened.  Today,  "The Exchange continues to serve its non-profit mission as an outlet of hand-crafted goods made by women and men intent on supporting themselves with dignity," notes the website.

Philanthropy Today reports, " The Exchange splits sales revenue 50-50 with the 80 consigners who sell wares at the shop, but increases the proportion to 70-30 for low-income women and today, also men.
The organization is working with local nonprofits to develop more formal ways of reaching out to women who could use business training. It teaches basic entrepreneurial skills to women who sell goods through the store. Some didn’t even have business cards or use the Internet when they started out."

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