Our story started in 2015, when CEO & Founder Kara Ross decided to take the biggest risk of her professional career by pivoting into her passion.
Kara Ross is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and an award winning fine jewelry designer whose work is recognized by the White House and art museums across the country. Kara is a certified gemologist and sits on the board of the CFDA and Georgetown University. Kara is a member of both Women Moving Millions, and the Harvard Kennedy School Women & Public Policy. Kara Ross has sold to top international retailers over the years including Harrods, Selfridges, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales and Saks Fifth Avenue to name a few.
Our mission is to UNLEASH women’s potential globally by creating opportunities to break the poverty cycle through education and job creation. We are designing product for the Western Market, commissioning talented female artisans and bringing it to market with top retailers. We consider UNLEASHED a profits with a “purpose” company, as we are taking the net profits and giving them back to our non profit partners and Microfinance funds. Our 2017 non profit partners are Dress for Success and Girl Up. All Microfinance funds for 2017 will be dispersed to Indian Female Artisans + Entrepreneurs through KIVA.
We have identified a collective of women in India within a town called Bareilly, which is South of Delhi. The product (organic cotton + beaded/embroidered ready- to-wear) will be created by a collective of artisan women. The women are empowered through beading because they get to stay home, take care of their family and become completely self-reliant. We even opened up bank accounts for each woman. Each artisan is paid over minimum wage. The design inspiration is the BINDI, an important part of the Indian culture. The Bindi is an everlasting circle, representing endurance and strength. We like to say it represents the universal connectivity of women.
Why job creation platforms?
Over a year ago our CEO Kara Ross made a visit to Cape Town, South Africa. She spent time meeting with women in extremely impoverished townships and discovered a collective of women working on children’s clothing. We commissioned over 18 women within two townships to customize a line of children’s clothing which we sold here in the US online and through the Kara Ross boutique. We saw the direct impact of employing women, giving them opportunity and strengthening their self-worth. This initiative inspired the UNLEASHED team to focus all of our energy and resources on helping female artisans globally.
Why are we UNLEASHING INDIA in 2017?
The culture. The political landscape. The poverty. The women.
What is KIVA?
KIVA is an international nonprofit, founded in 2005 and based in San Francisco, with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. We celebrate and support people looking to create a better future for themselves, their families and their communities.By lending as little as $25 on Kiva, anyone can help a borrower start or grow a business, go to school, access clean energy or realize their potential. For some, it’s a matter of survival, for others it’s the fuel for a life-long ambition.
Is UNLEASHED a non-profit organization?
UNLEASHED is not a non-profit organization or 501(c)(3), we are a social impact brand committed to donating net profits to support our non profit partners and job creation initiatives. We like to call this “profits with a purpose”.
How is UNLEASHED funded?
UNLEASHED is primarily a self-funded business, with annual support from best-in-class corporate partners who believe in our mission. In addition, through the sales of UNLEASHED product we are able to raise extra funds to support our organization, non profit partners and various global initiatives.
How much do you expect to give your two non-profit partners for 2017?
UNLEASHED is committed to giving at least $20k to each of our two non profit partners for 2017, GIRL UP and Dress for Success.
Can I submit my non profit to be a receipt of an UNLEASHED grant in 2018?
There are so many wonderful non profit organizations supporting girls and women, we are happy to learn about all of them. Please contact us here.
What region are you planning to work in for 2018?
UNLEASHED is currently researching and vetting through female artisans in impoverished regions for 2018. We are committed to focusing on a new region of artisans each year. If you would like to give us more information or a tip please contact us here.
How can I help or get involved?
You can sign up for our newsletter and stay in the know with all updates on our movement, purchase and wear UNLEASHED products spreading the message of empowerment and connect with us on social media (we love reposts or @tags!)