040 – Brennan Lowery – Lasting Impact

Brennan Lowery

Looking at Kate Spade’s successful supply-chain social responsibility program in Rwanda…

Why would Kate Spade New York, an iconic brand with a global presence, extend a part of its supply chain, taking on major challenges, to go into a developing country? A fashion consultant supported a social responsibility program that was successful, with profitability and lasting impact focused on empowering women. Brennan Lowery, a consultant in the social responsibility and business development space, and a former Program Manager for Karisimbi Business Partners, a partner of Kate Spade New York’s On Purpose CSR program in Rwanda, joins Stephanie Benedetto and Samanta Cortes in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser.

In this episode:

  • A look at why Kate Spade New York decided to undertake the program and initiative in Rwanda
  • The meaning for employees of a brand that’s willing to spend money outside of their internal needs
  • Being committed to seeing women empowered in different parts of world, transforming community, creating a new cutting-edge model for the space of social enterprise
  • The opportunity for a developing country to compete in a world of global suppliers
  • Participation by a number of partners and experts as part of plan in Rwanda, plus cooperation and support by both US and Rwandan governments
  • Each Rwanda employee (mostly women) averages 4.5 dependents, and the initiative resulted in positive impact on other local business
  • The need for a brand to be telling a story about the specific products coming out of a developing country that it is benefitting
  • The goal to work oneself out of a job, and hire a Rwandan in one’s place
  • The need in more parts of East Africa, and between Central and South America
  • Find pockets and create jobs, teach skills and provide training
  • Evaluating what space a brand wants to impact, greater meaning for employees and consumers, and the need to see transformation
  • What motivated Lowery and what planted the seed with the brand
  • A dream of hospitality with meaning
  • How there is still a lot of work to be done, and a need to do something

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