As part of one of our special projects for 2018, we decided to approach Black Friday in a positive manner, by donating our profits from the weekend to a cause we’re truly passionate about. And guess what? We almost doubled our goal of €5.000, with the result of €9.150! Since you, our dear O My Bag-lovers, helped us reach that goal, we wanted to share with you where that money went and how it’s helping ‘The Cup’ cafe in India achieve their mission.
What is The Cup?
The Cup is a café founded by an organization called Freeset Global. The purpose of this ‘women only’ cafe is to provide employment and support for women who were trafficked into prostitution. Located in the Red Light District of Kolkata, this cafe is a safe space for women to build healthy relationships, grow a supportive community and be inspired for the future.
The name of the cafe is a reference to the very popular ‘cha’ cups in India. After being used, the disposable clay cups are discarded and lay without a purpose in the gutter. Freeset Global draws a comparison to sex trafficking in the same area. As it says on their website: “In our community, many men ‘consume’ the women who are sold from numerous roadside brothels. Like the cha cup, these women are also used, discarded and feel they need to pick up the pieces on their own.”
In The Cup cafe, they serve chai from beautiful cups that have been hand-painted by the women, items that are cherished and looked after. This represents what ‘The Cup’ is all about, providing a place for women in the area to feel supported and respected. Women can come to chat, laugh and express some of their deeper concerns. The aim is to introduce the women to an alternative life and believe that a better future is possible for them too.
Manicures, Movie Nights, and other Essentials
Beautiful cause, isn’t it? We thought so too. That’s why O My Bag, as a female led business that operates in Kolkata, decided that The Cup would be a great cause to support this year. O My Bag’s Founder Paulien and Production Manager Jessica visited The Cup this year on their production trip. Paulien and Jessica met Frinn, one of the community workers at The Cup. Frinn shared her motto “You must be brave with your life, so others can be brave with theirs”. We love what you’re doing over there Frinn and are glad we could help with your mission.
The Cup employees listed some items they would love to purchase with our donation, ranging from ‘most wanted’ to ‘dream donation’. The most wanted items included staff uniforms, kitchen equipment and an intercom system for food orders (because The Cup is a café, after all). Good news: since we surpassed our goal, they were able to purchase all their dream items – products for the manicure/pedicure experience and a projector for education and film nights. Take a look at some of the progress in the cafe for disadvantaged women.
“Black Friday: from dark into something bright.”
From Black to Bright Friday
When spotting the ‘Black Friday’ signs in store, some of you wondered why O My Bag, as an eco-friendly brand, would participate in the tradition of over consuming? Black Friday hurts the environment, because it encourages shoppers to buy extra, often spontaneous fast fashion items. Since we’re an eco-friendly brand, we try to make the world around us happy by using business as a force for good, we decided to participate in Black Friday in a positive way, by donating the profits to a cause we’re passionate about. We offered some nice discounts to move overstock (sometimes we’re so excited about a design that we produce a few too many) and perfectly imperfect pieces (natural leather has its charms). And that’s how we changed something dark into something bright.
O My Bag