I was lucky enough to be chosen as a model for this amazing brand, Ahkun! Read below for additional information for how they are changing the face of e-commerce one entrepreneur at a time and don't forget to shop at http://ahkun.org/.
Ahkun connects entrepreneurs who have taken out a microloan with the global market. By creating an online marketplace, buyers from all over the world can find a product or an entrepreneur they want to buy from.
• Limited Access to Markets--Artisans who obtain microloans lack access to tools that allow them to sell their goods beyond local markets. Additionally, they often do not have the technological resources or distribution abilities (reliable postal service, capital, access to distribution points) to sell their goods online.
• No Viable Alternatives for Microloan Defaults--Microloan borrowers who fall behind on repayment face two options. The lending institution will either push payments to a later date, or collect on the collateral that borrowers previously put up. With the former, interest rates on loans often will still accrue, creating a burden difficult to surmount. With the latter, individuals who have put land, livestock, and their homes up as collateral can have those repossessed by the lender. This in turn puts the borrower in a much worse position than they were in when they took out their loan. More importantly, it completely defeats the original and fundamental intent and purpose of microfinance—to provide poverty alleviation through access to credit.
• Connecting Artisans to the Global Market--We connect artisans receiving microloans to the global market, allowing them to sell outside of village and domestic markets, thus providing opportunity to scale their enterprises.
• Microloan Default Prevention and Alternatives—Some of our artisans are at risk of defaulting on their microloans, due to sickness, inability to find steady work, or business failure. We provide a default alternative to repay microloans and sustain livelihoods.
• Artisans as Entrepreneurs--We encourage entrepreneurship amongst artisans through a direct trade model. We seek to work directly with the producers themselves, cutting out as many intermediaries as possible, and maximizing benefit to producers AND to consumers in so doing.
• Connecting Microloan Borrowers and Microloan Lenders—Our goods are a tangible result of the loans that individuals made to borrowers, and a link between the two.
• Angkor Microfinance Kampuchea (AMK), a microfinance institution that works to provide credit to the poor in Cambodia. Ahkun has partnered with AMK microfinance in Cambodia to pinpoint entrepreneurs and products to distribute through Ahkun’s website.
AHKUN ARTISANS AND ENTREPRENEURS
Ahkun currently works in Cambodia with 7 groups and individuals totaling about threedozen women., who produce clothing, accessories, home and paper goods. They include:
• Channy Sokh Cooperative—these entrepreneurs sew and silkscreen T-shirts. They produced Kiva Loaner/Loner and Kivawalk T-shirts, which are made from a soft cotton blend. Loaner/Loner shirts are available in white and black. Kivawalk tees available in white and grey. 25% of proceeds from the sale of these shirts aredonated to Kiva. http://ahkun.org/catalogsearch/result/?q=t-shirt&x=0&y=0
• Kampot Women’s Cooperative—These artisans make silk pocketbooks in an assortment of vibrant colors and patterns. Available in honeysuckle, royal, aquamarine, and jade.http://ahkun.org/catalogsearch/result/?q=pocketbook&x=0&y=0
• Phei Ro Collaborative—The Phei Ro group produces gorgeous 100% silk neckties in a rainbow of brilliant solids. Ties are available in honeysuckle, sapphire, goldenrod, navy, forest, burgundy, and flame.http://ahkun.org/catalogsearch/result/?q=phei+ro&x=0&y=0
• Kakeda Sun—Kakeda Sun learned how to weave cloth from her mother ,and hascontinued this artisan tradition with her handwoven checkered Krama scarves. Made of 100% cotton, these scarves are a national symbol of Cambodia, haveversatile uses in everyday life, and are seen and used throughout Cambodia.Available in blue/white, maroon/white, red/green/orange, and red/green.http://ahkun.org/catalogsearch/result/?q=kakeda+sun&x=0&y=0
• Circle Cambodia--In Cambodia, most people have clothes handmade and tailored for them. The skilled tailors of Circle Cambodia continue in this tradition,designing and creating adjustable cotton wrap dresses that can be dressed up and down. Available in Emerald, Cornflower, Black, and Graphite colors. http://ahkun.org/catalogsearch/result/?q=circle+cambodia