In winter, my favorite fruit trees don't grow taller, nor wider, nor thicker in the trunk. But, out of my sight completely, their roots may, at times, quietly grow deeper into the cold earth.
That's exactly what happened with Ibu throughout the blanketing chill that is… Covid. In the past two years, our work hasn't flung out into a wider swath of sky, but it has grown deeper in vital relationships with our artisan partners. After design collaboration with particular cooperatives for seven years, we deepened our commitment to them this year, growing permanent collections to showcase their exceptional skills. Now, you're able to shop our website not only by category (jackets, jewelry) but by Collection (The Beadwork, Embroidery, Felting, Indigo, Ikat, and Moroccan Collections).
I'm humbled by the trusting, reciprocal relationships this represents with women around the world. These artisans count on Ibu for work, and we count on them to bring you the finest of their craft (learn more about many of our artisan partners here).
On top of the 50 artisan groups with whom we design in-house, we continue to support another 50+ groups from whom we buy beautiful products they have already made.
During the pandemic, many of these 100+ artisan partners were devastated. I'm hugely grateful for your support of the Ibu Foundation which held these strong women through their crisis of illness, shutdown, loss of workspace, cancelled work. In that exchange, we grew still closer, becoming a fierce band of women supporting one another.
As I review the past year at Ibu, I'm clear about the value of this cold hard time—not in reaching but in tunneling, mining the kinship of Ibu women everywhere. Our root system is strong.
And because of that, I believe, our movement has held steady through this brutal pandemic. We still work with over 100 women's artisan groups. We still send hundreds of thousands of dollars directly into the hands of women, both through our social enterprise and our non-profit. We're still working in over 40 countries; still see viewers from more than 200 countries drawn to our website.
But we've done more. Together with you, we're doubling the reach of our Foundation projects and doubling contributions, too. Together, we're purchasing 15% more artisan products than last year. We've refreshed our website, returned to successful travel, trunk shows, and fundraising events in order to gather with you, and topped 20,300 followers who take in our Instagram video and stories each day. We've forged collaborations soon to be revealed, flexed our team muscle to the strongest it's been, and learned to creatively support one another through challenging times (like a full Covid assault on the team the week before Christmas!).
Thank you for being the magic in this movement. For supporting the work and the women who depend on it. Thank you for understanding that your purchases are grounding and sourcing women, who, in this new year, are more than ready to fling their branches wide again, and, together with you, to reach for the vast blue sky.
All the Best,