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Unlocking the Power of Maker-Owned

Our Vision for a Flourishing Planet

Our Maker-Owned History

In 2012, Industree took on a bold endeavor: to incubate a craft business with the goal of providing employment to thousands of artisans through the global marketing of an environmentally sustainable product line. It was a radical idea - so radical in fact, that it worked. The business was called Greenkraft, and within a decade, the incomes of producers within the organization had tripled. 

Yet the success of Greenkraft was not only remarkable for its rapid ascent and adoption by major global brands. It was also remarkable because it achieved this success as a fully maker-owned company. 

The success of Greenkraft is one that we’ve been able to replicate across India’s informal economy. Just a year after its founding, Industree created the second largest off-farm producer- owned company Ektha Apparel. Today, Greenkraft and Ektha are each profitable, maker-owned enterprises, and have combined revenues of over $10 million USD. And through producer-owned businesses like Greenkraft and Ektha, Industree has secured market access contracts that have exceeded $58 million USD, impacting over 500,000 lives. 

In addition to being financially sustainable businesses that provide fair wage employment to thousands of craftspeople, Greenkraft and Ektha each have impacts that go even deeper than delivering economic agency to tens of thousands of informal - and previously disenfranchised - workers. 

In fact, the economic benefits of these producer-owned companies are only made possible by the social and environmental underpinnings that are core to the maker-owned model. 

Integrating workers into the formal economy - and through a model that requires not only the commodity of their labor but their active participation in their company’s growth - requires workers to not just be passive producers. It requires deep technical training to ensure that workers are adept at the tasks they will perform, and can play a leadership role in training others. 

It requires gaining the soft skills in people management and financial management in order to fully embrace a structure that is not top down, but fully inclusive. 

And it requires a focus on a sustainable product assortment that doesn’t extract resources from local economies, but is regenerative - so that the local business can thrive and support the development of healthy, climate positive communities.  

When the required social underpinnings of a maker-owned model are in place, the financial rewards flow in a way that is inherently inclusive. 

The experience of launching Greenkraft and then Ektha led us to a question that is both fundamental and guiding our next chapter: 

How can we apply the widespread impacts of the producer-owned model not just to our vehicles for production? But how can we also apply it to our vehicles for consumption? 

And hence Flourish Planet was born. 

With the launch of Flourish Planet, we’re taking the same maker-owned model that Industree has been deploying for decades on the ground in India and applying it to the very vehicle millions of consumers use every day - ecommerce. 

The Flourish Planet marketplace platform is operated by Flourish Planet Social Benefit Corporation - a Delaware registered public benefit corporation. Flourish Planet is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Creative Million, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charity whose mission is to create sustainable livelihoods for artisans everywhere.

Through this legal structure, it is not only our moral imperative to put the artisan at the center of every business decision. It is also our legal imperative. 

In many ways, launching a maker-owned model for consumption is a natural and necessary next step of our journey. As direct-to-consumer models drive economic growth for small to medium-sized enterprises around the world, we want to challenge ourselves to both think about how a d2c model can benefit maker communities - and how that benefit can take place through a new structure for consumption that is also owned by the makers. 

It’s a grand endeavor - and one that we believe will have the same impacts as the maker-owned model for production that Industree pioneered with the launch of Greenkraft over a decade ago. The social impacts of launching a maker-owned model for commerce include: 

1. Shared Resources for Global Marketing
Direct-to-consumer e-commerce is a huge opportunity for global artisans - and also an expensive one. The marketing costs required to stand out in an increasingly competitive environment are high, and often not within the budgets of small artisan enterprises. 
Through the Flourish model, we’re applying the same principles around shared resources that the producer-owned cooperative has benefitted from for many decades to our new model of commerce. Through the Flourish platform, marketing resources - and dollars - are pooled. Rather than competing, businesses on the platform reap shared benefits through their participation in a maker-owned platform. 

2. Investment in Infrastructure That Drives Maker Growth
As a business whose legal structure ensures that all profits made by the marketplace are used for initiatives that directly and solely benefit artisans, the growth of Flourish Planet will invest in maker-determined projects that directly benefit their growth and development. This could include additional maker-training, technology upgrades, marketing and events, platform upgrades, or other investments. 
When makers, rather than executives, are leading the conversation around the best investments in growing local economies, the resulting decisions are inevitably more successful. Makers have the lived experience to know what they need to take their businesses to the next level of success. And that’s why makers are at the center of our business - and at the center of every business decision. 

Consumer Confidence and Consequent Business Growth

Over the past two decades, we’ve seen a rise in responsible sourcing between corporates and makers in the informal economy. Corporations have a mounting ethical obligation to deploy their resources to advance local economies in the Global South - and when they find partners who are supporting that goal while providing marketable and desirable product, the business relationship thrives. 

The case is the same between consumers and ethical vehicles for commerce. When consumers find a new model of consumption that fulfills their consumer needs and helps ensure that their hard-earned dollars are going to support makers directly, rather than shareholders and CEOs, customers gain confidence - and the ethical business gains customer loyalty in return.

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