As we approach 14 years of creating freedom and opportunity this month, Sari Bari continues to be filled with hope for a future the facilitates a platform for women to find their feet and their value. Sari Bari has seen hundreds of women flow through our doors and find family. Most have stayed and made their home with us, and some have moved on to different paths, working at other jobs, retirement, and marriage. It has been a gift to journey for so long and so far together, to see so many paths join in the common cause of freedom.
For the last few years, we have transitioned through many challenges and times of struggle and find ourselves on the other side of losing friends and co-labors in the struggle for freedom. The Business of freedom has changed over these last years as new markets have opened and fresh start ups have made their way in the ethical fashion space. When we began, we were one of the few, and now we are one of the many. We are grateful to see the movement grow and the market grow to welcome some pretty amazing new brands.
The challenge for us has been in continuing to employ 120-130 women while orders have slowed and placed a heavy burden on our ability to employ as many as we do. Somewhere along the path, we hired more women than we could fully employ and so there are many days and hours of the week that we cannot fill with work for our artisans. So, after several years of “making it work” we are making a tough decision towards sustainability and tightening our belt. Sustaining and caring for the freedom journey of Sari Bari artisans continues to be at the forefront of our hearts and minds. Even still, we began a process of discernment several months ago as a community considering how we sustain the most artisans with full-time work as we move into the next phase of our business of creating freedom and opportunity.
In January, we began to take concrete steps toward health as a business and a community. And these steps toward health are challenging because they affect lives and families. This month, we will be closing down two of the four of our smaller manufacturing units and consolidating down to just two units. Approximately 5 women have chosen to take early retirement, a package which includes a 6-month salary, plus a bonus equivalent of up to 1-year salary for any employee who has worked for us for more than 5 years and have full access to retirement funds. Additionally, we have invited around 25 women to work as commuter/satellite staff, working at home and commuting into the office once a week. Should these artisans choose not to work at home, they also have access to the same package as those who are taking early retirement.
This is a significant structural change, to say the least, and one that we will believe bring back balance and profitability, and therefore long-term sustainability. We believe these steps will again facilitate a strong foundation to sustain and empower new futures for women in the years to come.
Fourteen years in the business of freedom is no small miracle, and our hearts are grateful even as we say goodbye to some of friends and beloved sisters as they step into something new. The mission of Sari Bari was always to provide a space where women could heal and grow and become; a place that they could go out from with a foundation of freedom, and we are confident that our mission has been realized in the lives of the artisans and will continue to be realized in the lives of women who find themselves at our doors in the future.
For Freedom and For All of us at Sari Bari.
Co-Founder, Managing Director
Sari Bari Private Limited