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Business with Purpose


Aug 8, 2018

It’s a fact - when the unemployment rate is high, the first people to be hit are women and children. Whether it’s in a developing nation or here in the United States, women and children are the first ones affected by any type of unemployment. I have talked about this before, but when a woman is provided a job in a developing nation, she invests about 80-90% of her income back into her community. When a man in a developing nation is provided a job, he only invests about 30-40% back into his community. The fact is, giving a woman a job changes lives! My guest this week is Barrett Ward, founder and CEO of ABLE. ABLE is an incredible fashion and accessory company that I’ve been a fan of for years and to finally hear the origin story behind this company I love so much was such a joy for me! ABLE is paving the way for other purpose-filled brands to step up their game and continue to impact lives in incredible ways. I also wanted to let you know the team at ABLE was so generous to give you an exclusive coupon code for 20% off your purchase from ABLE by using the code MOLLY. Go to stillbeingmolly.com/able to shop. This was a really fun conversation and I just loved my time with Barrett, and I know you will too! THE CALL TO ETHIOPIA Life after just getting married can be hard, and Barrett and his wife Rachel decided to make it just a little bit harder. When Rachel got a job offer in Ethiopia, the couple packed up their things and went over to Ethiopia. Moving to a foreign country took a lot of adjusting but eventually Ethiopia became a place that they loved. Barrett talks about his libtime in Ethiopia and how this time led him to the idea for ABLE. THOSE WHO HAVE OVERCOME When Barrett thought about expanding in the early days of ABLE, he realized he couldn’t just help one group of women, he had to help many. By making a mission to create jobs for women who have overcome, Barrett was able to turn ABLE into the company we know today. On top of that, ABLE allows women to invest back into their communities in Ethiopia, Peru, and Mexico. Barrett and I chat about combating poverty and a woman’s impact on her community. ACCOUNTABLE One of the biggest things Barrett strives to do is making sure that ABLE can prove the impact it’s making. As a social impact business, Barrett recognizes he has a responsibility to measure his work and prove the impact ABLE is making. Because he aims to be as transparent as possible, this led Barrett to create the new program accountABLE. Barrett and I talk about starting accountABLE and how they hope to make an impact in the future. About Barrett Ward, Founder and CEO of ABLE: Leading a fashion lifestyle brand might be an unlikely role for someone self-described as “not a fashion guy,” but that’s exactly where ABLE founder and CEO Barrett Ward finds himself. As the visionary behind the rapidly growing Nashville-based company disrupting the fashion industry with a social conscience, Ward was inspired to start ABLE with the mission of creating sustainable business opportunities for women. While living in Ethiopia, Ward and wife Rachel saw firsthand how extreme poverty forced many young women to make difficult choices for money. They wanted to give women the chance to earn a living with dignity. In 2010, they began ABLE by employing women who had overcome the sex industry to make handmade scarves. ABLE has since grown into a lifestyle brand carrying beautiful leather bags, jewelry, denim, apparel, and shoes with a primary focus on empowering disadvantaged women. Now, the company employs more than 300 women in  Ethiopia, Peru, Mexico, and Nashville – home of ABLE’s Headquarters and Flagship store. As fans of ABLE’s classic styles grow, Ward ensures he and his team always remember why ABLE was founded: to provide opportunities to women who have overcome some of life’s most challenging obstacles. CONNECT WITH BARRETT

Special thanks to CAUSEBOX for sponsoring this week’s Business with Purpose podcast. Use coupon code MOLLY for $15 off!

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