Update! Progress, lots. But still a long way to go. We spent some time spreading the word about this today. Can you?
I AM: Kickstarter campaign worthy of support from yogis, women, activists.
editor’s intro: I know these people. They’re the best kind of people: awake, alive, inspired, generous—and in need of some community support. Share this? ~ ed.
Yoga-Inspired Venture in Creative Capitalism, I AM. Garners Praise In Yoga Community.
~ Jessie Baxter
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Two people and one dream of positive social change and a meaningful life formed I AM. For both, it started as a journey, a search for something more and both drawn to yoga and the shared passion of social impact and changing the lives of people in South America and the world.
Yoga-Inspired Venture in Creative Capitalism I AM. Garners Praise, Endorsement From Notables in Yoga Community With Soulwares Line.
I AM. launches with Kickstarter campaign for inaugural project Soulwares, a line of innovative yoga bags connecting Western yogis with impoverished Mayan weavers
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Oct 17, 2011 – I AM., the yoga-inspired venture in creative capitalism dedicated to creating commercial solutions to social problems, announced their launch on Kickstarter by introducing their highly anticipated Soulwares project. Both the project and the new organization have received endorsements from luminaries of the yoga community.
The Soulwares project empowers impoverished Mayan weavers in Lake Atitlán, Guatemala to earn a self-determined living wage and fund much-needed infrastructure projects. Using the textiles handcrafted by the Mayan artisan women, Soulwares designs, manufactures and plans to sell yoga bags and straps throughout North America as well as online. Half of the profits from sales will fund community projects in the weavers’ villages. “Most people can’t even imagine the kind of poverty these people live in,” reports Amnesty International.
The Kickstarter campaign will offer supporters a chance to pre-purchase the yoga bags and fund the construction of an on-site natural dye plant in San Juan, Guatemala. Running from October 11 through November 22, 2011, the campaign has set a funding goal of $45,000. Making it one of the more ambitious Kickstarter campaigns launched in the design category to date.
“While our goal is ambitious, the overwhelming response from the yoga and Western spiritual communities gives me confidence we will reach it,” says William Baxter, I AM. co-founder. “People have really responded to the fact that this project isn’t a handout. Far from it: Soulwares arms these women with a business infrastructure to support their economic independence and self-determination.”
Michaela Ujan Mendoza, one of the artisan weavers who is working with I AM. to build the natural dye facility, agrees with this philosophy: “I don’t want to just be given things; I don’t think it is right.”
Both I AM. and Soulwares have received widespread praise and endorsement from the yoga community and even caught the eye of spiritual leader and New York Times bestselling author Eckhart Tolle, who participated in the company’s promotional campaign with a photo of himself holding up the word ‘stillness,’ one of I AM.’s seven founding values. Other noteworthy ambassadors and I AM. endorsers include San Francisco-based yoga instructors Les Leventhal and yogi philosophy scholar and Hindu Studies PhD candidate Eric Shaw.