Piece & Co. is out to change the world by employing one woman at a time. The for-profit company hires women in disadvantaged communities throughout the world to create fabrics that are sold to major fashion brands Stateside.
“Our goal is committed to ending global poverty and to create real employment for females in the developing world,” said its founder, Kathleen Wright. “We believe that a woman is the most influential person in [her] household. For them to be working, it then translates to their children, and they become someone that can become a great role model.”
To date, the company has created more than 4,700 job opportunities for artisans in developing countries to source materials like ikats from India, batiks from Togo and crocheted fabrics from Guatemala.
Wright, who launched the social enterprise in 2012 in Chicago, said that one order from a brand can employ 75 to 100 artisans for up to two months, in turn impacting 300 to 400 people.
Wright got the attention of Millard “Mickey” Drexler, the chief executive officer at J. Crew Group Inc., who has since become a mentor of sorts to the brand.
“I have meetings with Mickey and ask for his advice, and he’s been nothing but supportive of our mission,” said Wright.
Piece & Co. also impressed Olivia Kim, the director of creative projects for Nordstrom.
“Kathleen reached out to me, and she had this incredible concept,” Kim said. “She had a model and a point of view that was pure humanitarian that really spoke to me. Here was this girl working for an organization that wanted to be influential to the world, and I was into that.”
The two will collaborate on a pop-up shop in the spring. The shop will feature all Piece & Co. collaborations with brands like DVF, Tory Burch, Rebecca Minkoff, Alice + Olivia and The Honest Company, among others.
“Really, it’s the women’s superb work that makes this business sustainable,” said Wright. “At the end of the day, if the work isn’t polished and extremely good, no brand would want to work with us. It’s a real testament to just how hardworking these women are.”