Blog Post #2
Economic side of Consumption/ Commercialization of 31bits
Fair Trade Made In Uganda
31bits offers a whole range of products in which consumers can choose from. On the website the product categories include: Necklaces, Bracelets, Headbands, Earrings, and Bags. The prices range from $10 all the way up to $67. They are found in retailers all over the United States, including our very own PLNU bookstore. 31bits prides itself on making jewelry with materials that only come from Uganda. According to a CNN.com article, as of February 2013, 31bits has raised more than $500,000 dollars through product sales that they have been able give back to the Ugandan women.
Another fact about 31bits is that all their products are fair trade. According to the Fair Trade USA Organization, fair trade is defined as a “product that is socially and environmentally sustainable” (http://fairtradeusa.org/products-partners). This begs the question, does the label “fair trade” have an economic impact on the consumer when they are purchasing a product? In an article titled, “Young Female Consumers’ Intentions Toward Fair Trade Consumption” by Yoon Jin Ma, Mary Littrell, and Linda Niehm, the research indicates that it does. They surveyed 810 females, ranging from ages 18-28, asking about their beliefs on fair trade and if it plays a factor in whether or not they purchase a certain product. In the responses there was an overwhelming response affirming the impact of fair trade. 31bits is able to reach that target audience by labeling their products “fair trade”.
Other than being fair trade how does 31bits separate itself from other companies who make jewelry and have the same type of mission?
31bits is not the only company making jewelry out of recycled paper and trying to empower the women of Uganda. For example, there is Beads for Life and Beads that Build. In particular, Beads that build is another fundraising initiative that through their sales of hand made jewelry allow an orphanage in Uganda to sustain itself (See their story here). What makes consumers want to buy from 31bits and what separates them from these other companies from an economic aspect are their designs. An article from The Fashion Philanthropist confirms this,
“I have seen other companies that sell jewelry made out of the same type of beads and with similar missions, but what sets 31 Bits apart for me is how well designed everything is. I would honestly wear every piece of jewelry that they sell. They have everything from simple bracelets to gorgeous statement necklaces, and each piece of jewelry has a beautiful color scheme.”
With the relatively low prices and proven great designs it seems like a no brainer decision from a consumer point of view that they get the best economic value when they choose to purchase 31bits products in comparison to other things on the market.
Go buy those bracelets and boost their sales to help empower the women of Uganda!