Jess was right, I love these cushions. They are from an online store that has just recently kicked off it’s opening.
The materials/products come from Cambodia and a percentage of the profits go back into assisting the women who are involved.
I always find projects like this interesting. Part of me wonders where the profit margin sits. Such as, the 10% goes to the women, the excess profit goes to where? Surely all extra profit isn’t about perpetuating the business? Regardless, it is something.
What a brilliant thing it would be to run something that totally gives back into the people we are trying to help. But then, maybe it isn’t sustainable to run a business that way.
Perhaps I need a reminder that this isn’t all about the money, it is also about improving the quality of life for these women by even just simply providing them something to do that is productive, useful and values their talent.
Anyway, do go and check them out and buy something. I’m going to be having a bit of a further look myself.
We partner with several projects that counsel, train & equip women to overcome the circumstances of poverty, lack of education, sex trafficking & the burden of HIV by providing them with on going care & meaningful vocational training.
This training provides the women with a means of supporting their families, of exiting the sex industry, furthering their education & seeing a hope for their futures.
Through these partnerships it is our hope to support local women & their families, by facilitating opportunities for them to improve the standard of living for themselves, their families & the generations to come.
We strive to undertake all our business dealings with honesty, integrity & transparency.
10% of profits made from the sale of our partners products goes back to their projects to further their work.
This website pushed my buttons a bit – I thought I should say this upfront.
Two things that struck me as I read the info on their website. (1) 10% isn’t much considering the mark-ups ($50 for fisherman’s pants?!) (2) these women both seemed to be employed by the church…in which case, they’re not relying on this business as their primary source of income.
Sorry for the cynicism, but on more than one occasion I have got excited about a business that seemed to be relatively fair trade, and upon closer inspection I’ve realised that it was basically a marketing ploy.
Damn. The times when I return and feel like I should’ve been ‘more honest’ and ‘less nice’. I too had pretty much the same response. What irked me most was the toting of the ‘pastors wife’ title however pathetic that is. 10% isn’t much at all.
LOL…well I’m feeling reassured that I’m not (too much!) of a cynic now!!
Yeah, 10% doesn’t strike me as much. I mean, I could easily afford that, particularly if it was a business on the side, in addition to my *student* income.
And yes, the “pastor’s wife” thing irks me too!
Thought I might join the discussion, “Pastor’s Wife” here. Just so we are all on the same page thought you might like some more information, so that you can make a better informed decision before airing your opinions.
1. Yes I am a Pastor & in that, I see it as my job to love, care, assist, equip, correct & teach those men & women in my local church that God has charged me with. I also believe that I am called to the nations to preach the gospel (as are we all â€“ some just go further a field.) I am passionate about international missions & believe I am called to do that in Cambodia. My business is just ONE way I can see that I can help facilitate change & support programs that shamelessly promote the gospel of Christ.
2. As well as being a Pastor, I am a wife & mother of 3 young children. We DO NOT draw ANY wage from our church as frankly, there is not the income to do so, & even if there was, I feel there are many better uses for that income, our local communities are as spiritually desolate & in need as any.
3. My husband works full time in a â€˜realâ€™ job & works his butt off for our Church.
I am not trying to justify my position, but I think you should have all the FACTS before airing your ‘cynicism’.
4. You bet I’m in the business to make money for my family. It would be irresponsible of me not to endeavor to provide for my family utilising the gifts & talent God has given me.
What better way to provide for my family than assisting others in the process.
(I guess I could just get an office job â€“ would that be more acceptable to your â€˜idealsâ€™?)
6. All our ‘exclusive range’ products are purchased & manufactured paying well above award wages for these women. (In one program it is a wage set by the women themselves). All our ‘exclusive range’ products are made by women who are being trained, equipped, valued & educated. Many of them from situations you & I can not even begin to fathom.
The profit you speak of then goes back to the program to train & equip more women, not necessarily ’employed’ by us. All other products have been purchased in the local markets as a way of enabling us to make some capital so that we can get more of our products made by our partner programs, and will be phased out as the business grows.
7. I’m not going to do the math for you, but ALL businesses have expenses. Some of ours include international shipping, import duty, tariffs etc. etc. etc. If you have issue with purchasing any of our products due to our pricing, please feel free to travel to Asia & purchase them for yourselves.
8. Mine & my families personal profit from the business to date $0 (in business since August 2007).
Money paid in wages & â€˜profitâ€™ in excess of $1000 UDS.
As for Kerrie, as of this week, she has decided that her call to serve the local church as a Pastor has to come first above the business, so she has passed the business solely to me. Her mission focus as well as our churches continues to be Cambodia.
And while Iâ€™m here.
Can I suggest that one of the biggest problems in the church of west to day is misinformed, cynical assumptions. It only serves to bring disunity in the body of Christ.
As we have stated, we endeavor to promote honesty & transparency in all our business dealings, our personal affairs, well thatâ€™s an added bonus I suppose.
In the future if you have an issue or want further information regarding the business dealings of
â€œHeague & Moranâ€ , contact me directly.
This post will also be placed on our blog at our site.
Thanks Amy for clarifying those things and I am sorry about the pastors wife thing because it was uncalled for. Looking at it now is simply stating who you are/what you do and not using it as a selling point – which I see too much of which and it disappoints me greatly.
As far as personal opinions go on my blog or in comments that others post here it is simply their opinion I am not about to edit things or change ‘the past’ – the blogging world runs off the assumption that people are going to say what they think. If the clarification comes, then it comes. I think what you are doing is ultimately a good thing (even just in showing off some beautiful products that Cambodian women make) and I wouldn’t have posted about you otherwise.
That said, I don’t want to detract from the generic conversation that comes in talking about extending our ‘western generousity’ and the common problem of companies using ‘fair trade’ as their selling point when it isn’t the primary intent of the business.
Amy, considering that Rebecca told people to “go and check them out and buy something” you seem pretty unhappy about a discussion which seemed mostly to talk about “these type of projects” rather than yours specifically.
Sorry if I seemed unhappy. I guess I am a little.
Bring on the discussion Geoff !
Please, hear me, I in no way wish for you to detract ANY of your comments. Or filter comments. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.
I just think it is ESSENTIAL that people know the full story BEFORE they air their opinions. And as a fellow blogger I am all to aware, that that rarely happens.
Thing is I know all to well exactly what you are talking about in response to abuse of the system, which is why I really wanted to respond & fill you in.
Personally, I think I’m just a bit tired of continuously feeling like I need to justify myself to fellow brothers & sisters in Christ for doing something I truly believe I’ve been called to.
Oh & Rebecca, thank you for the apology, it is GREATLY APPRECIATED.
[…] check the controversy on my recent post Trade – Heague & Moran. It makes blogging feel […]
Amy, thanks for clarifying some of the queries we had. I am sincerely sorry if my post was unfair. I read every bit of information on your website, and those were the issues/questions that immediately sprang to my mind, and that I would like answered before I got too excited about discovering a “fair trade” enterprise. I have learnt from experience to read everything and ask questions, rather than simply assume that an enterprise that claims to be fair trade, is in fact fair trade.
I did not intend to call anyone’s reputation into question – my only intention was to engage with Rebecca’s post, and the information I’d read on your website. As I said above, if I am cynical, it’s because I’ve been burnt by my naivety before!
On a different note…I dont’ agree that one of the biggest problems in the church of the West is misinformed, cynical assumptions. I actually feel that a far bigger problem is the stifling of questions and dissent (and this is often done by suggesting that “questions” and “dissent” are the same as cynicism, bitterness, and “criticising the Bride of Christ”). I don’t have a problem with disunity per se – sometimes disunity exists for extremely good reasons (a classic example being the church in Nazi Germany – surely disunity there was not a bad thing?!)
I totally agree with you in regards to stifling of questions within the church angle.
Problem is all to often, Christians (new & old) for a plethora of reasons check their brains in at the door or alter call, see correction from godly leaders as a personal affront, then wonder why the perks they were ‘sold’ by the popularised bandwagon we call Christianity fails to appear in their lives.
You then have another side of intellectual Christians who again for many reasons have been burned, turn to cynicism & criticism & that is where disunity (which is a HUGE issue when we are talking about the BODY of CHRIST) filters in.
Disunity you speak of eg. with in a regime is another issue completely.
bring on free speech in all its forms!
he he …
Bec…methinks I see another thread…
does this mean an obligation to post about the above?
😮 I’m not sure If I do obligations!!!
This is what I get for ignoring Bec’s post because it had a picture of cushions in it. I missed all the fireworks!
😆 I mean the question of free speech in churches.
Hey all, sorry I didn’t come across this earlier.
I think that its important to encourage other Christians wherever possible when it comes to trying to do something good in the world. I agree that it can be easy to assume the worst about a person or a company because there are so many other dodgy ones out there!
But from what I see, there is no reason to assume that there is anything dodgy in this case. Amy said on her website that she is a Pastor’s wife… well, that’s what she is! Or would you rather her not mention it at all?
In terms of the 10% stuff, as a small business owner myself, I know that 10% is a lot when you look at all the overheads of running a business. I challenge anyone who is cynical about the matter to donate 10% of THEIR wage to third world sellers on top of their tithe. With the current size of Heague & Moran, it would probably be quite risky and unreasonable to promise any more than this at this stage. Imagine if the business collapsed in its first few months, then no-one would get anything!
I think the key is to keep an open mind when viewing people doing good stuff in the community, but at same time, businesses should be willing to face public scrutiny.
Lovink youse all,
I’m surprised that Bec and my “cynicism” has received such a strong response. We were really only raising some questions – with the benefit of hindsight, I should have made it clear that I was raising questions.
Re: pastor’s wife – I *do* have a problem with that phrase, for several reasons. Firstly, I don’t agree with the perspective on gender roles that it implies. I recognise that this is an ongoing debate, so I understand that not everyone will share my view, but that’s my position.
Secondly, I am yet to hear a Christian woman describe herself – in conversation or on a website – as an “engineer’s wife”, “lawyer’s wife”, “doctor’s wife”, “gardener’s wife”, “builder’s wife” etc etc. Again, I have a theological problem with that – to me, these differences suggest a theology where the role of a pastor is still valued above all others.
Finally, I am concerned about the power dynamics inherent in the use of such phrases. In some Christian subcultures, being a pastor or a pastor’s wife is a ticket to instant credibility. That concerns me, because I’ve seen the destructive consequences of this, both for “congregants” and “pastors”. (Please note – this is not a specific reference to Amy AT ALL – I’m merely outlining why I have a problem with the phrase “pastor’s wife”)
Re: the 10% – people will always disagree on what constitutes “enough”. My comment was really directed at the fact that I like to see more facts and figures before I enthusiastically embrace something as a socially- and environmentally-conscious enterprise. I’m trying really hard to be a conscious consumer, and that means asking questions about where things come from, how they were made, how much money is going where…
Bec, You’re not alone.I too want Women, in their own right, to be valued for their roles particularly if they are roles of leadership. In fact to quote Amy herself, she too feels as you do as can be seen from some of her statements above;
“…Yes I am a Pastor & in that, I see it as my job to love, care, assist, equip, correct & teach those men & women in my local church that God has charged me with…”
“…As well as being a Pastor, I am a wife & mother of 3 young children…”
Assumption can be a dangerous thing, but I’m going to assume here that the reason “Pastors Wife” was used on the website was because they were wanting to show a little of themselves in a very small website space. I do actually know both Amy and Kerry and they are 2 of the most women valuing people I know, they don’t walk around everywhere introducing themselves as “Pastors Wives” 😛 they’d never use it as a term to hide behind. In fact I actually viewed their use of the term as a sort of affectionate phrase for how ridiculously smitten they both are as wives and supporters to loving husbands.
I think that “Pastors Wife” is a term we all understand.
It does build a greater sense of confidence in the company when you hear that it is associated with the local church, and I will join you Bec in your sadness that there have been instances when churches have used their influence to profit, rather than sow…but perhaps what it sadder, is when we allow ourselves to become people who smother the visions of others because negative past experiences have been cruel to our innocence.
I think that You’re entirely justified Bec, in wanting to know the real intentions of the companies you choose to invest in.
However in order to unearth truth, one must actively seek it. It would have been a sad thing indeed if you had simply read the information on Heague & Moran, felt your questions burning, left a comment on a friends blog and then never cared to think about the company again because “…This website pushed my buttons a bit …”.
I’ve dealt with companies on the internet before who claim to have christian links, yet something struck me as odd. So I went straight to the source, asked the questions and then listened to the words that came pouring out of the horses mouth.
Questions are all well and good, but they’re even better when they’re followed by an answer. I can see that you appreciate an intellectual discussion Bec, so I in no way want you to feel like this is an attack of any sort, coz that really isn’t my intention.
If anything I want to encourage you!!
The church needs more people to stand up and ask the tough questions, we’ve just gotta be willing to ask them to the people who need to hear ’em, because if we don’t then we allow for gossip to take hold and we encourage disunity amongst those whom we are called to hold as dear as family.
I don’t doubt that Amy and Kerry would be more than happy to answer any questions. In fact, they want to know, what people want to know. I’m sure that if there was interest in certain aspects of the company, more information on the programs they’re supporting and such, they would probably even post it on the website should people show an interest in that information. But, they can’t know it’s wanted if no one speaks up and tells them its wanted 😉
But to finish this rather long winded ramble, I want to end with this. I really, really want to be a person who supports and encourages those who truly want to help this world. I really, really want to encourage those who do more than just ‘want to help’, but actually get moving and put that ‘want’ into action. I want to be wise about it, I want to help them see if there is anything not quite right and be able to correct it. But I really, really don’t want to be a person who fears the worst before they hope the best. I really really want to be a person who encourages the Body of Christ to put down their bible every so often, stretch their legs and dare to get out there and have a go.
They won’t get it exactly right all the time, but if their intentions are good and Gods purpose is there, then I want one of the loudest sounds coming from the stands, to be the sound of the cheers coming from me.
I’ve got an incling that I’m not the only one 😉
P.S. Apologies for the loooooog comment. I never have established a way to respond in a short and concise manner. :p
well I shall let the conversation continue…
wow Andy, I had no idea you even read this! We still have to come down some time.
I don’t disagree with any of your points per se, but some of your poins do remind me of how careful we need to be with language.
Ie. “Pastor’s Wife” – you might not see it as a negative thing, but I do, as do many of my female friends who regularly attend church. I don’t apologise for this – people have reactions to language all the time, which is why we should be careful with the words we choose.
Equally, I have an emotional reaction to the use of terms like “cynicism” (by Andrew) and phrases like “smothering the visions of others because of negative past experience”. It’s not that I actually disagree with the sentiments expressed by either of you – it’s just that I hear this vocabulary, and this kind of discourse, mobilised all the time to shut down debate and stifle dissent.
I’m not convinced that the onus is always on the person asking questions – why should it not also be on those of us who are using the language, and disseminating information? I understand perfectly well if people have a negative reaction when I describe myself as “a Christian” – that’s partly their problem, and I won’t stop using that word, but I also think that there’s an onus on me to explain (by words and actions) what I mean by that.
I really long for Christian communities to be places in which difference, and questioning, is celebrated rather than seen as a bad thing. I’m not advocating extreme cynicism, but I don’t share the view that we should always assume the best rather than the worst – this idea that Christians should be “positive”, “happy” and “nice” people is actually the cause of an awful lot of problems, ranging from the stifling of authenticity (ie it’s no ok to say you’re depressed) to the stifling of dissent (ie it’s no ok to criticise your pastor) After all, didn’t Jesus save his harshest criticism for those who professed to be following God’s way?!
Oh…that was a really badly written post, I hope it makes sense!!
Hey guys, just so you know I will be posting again soon but I’m at work at the minute 🙁
Watch this space!
Have loved reading your posts Bec, Bec and Jess.