Grandmas are in Business!

   
  
 
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      Yai (grandma in Thai) Wat, is a true muse of the Radical Grandma Collective and was the inspiration for our protesting granny sticker design. 

Yai (grandma in Thai) Wat, is a true muse of the Radical Grandma Collective and was the inspiration for our protesting granny sticker design. 

Still ecstatic about the overwhelming success of our Indiegogo campaign, the RadGram team has been hustling this week to bring the business to life. For the past few weeks, the Radical Grandmas have been hard at work weaving cotton into stripes and diamonds. Their hard work as certainly paid off, seeing as we can now announce that all one hundred scarves are sold! It has been inspiring for both us and the weavers to see that so many people are interested in the product and the story of these women.

This past weekend went up to the weavers’ community in Loei Province of Northeast Thailand to pick up our first order. Empty suitcases and baht (Thai money) in hand, we boarded a bus and three hours later were met by Mae Rote, one of the organizers of the weaving group, at the bus station. We piled into the back of her pick-up truck and drove away through the mountains and rice fields to the community. To our delight, when we arrived at Mae Rote’s house, we laid eyes upon piles and piles of scarves. 

Seated together on a straw mat, we shared a delicious meal of sticky rice, eggs, greens, pork, and fresh mango. Once we fuelled up, we went inside and got down to business. We counted all the scarves and sorted them by design and then started packing them into suitcases. As we went through the scarves we discovered that some of the grandmas proved to be truly radical and created some new designs and colors. While we were initially surprised, we ended up really liking most of them and are excited to show you all the varieties that the weavers can do! One hundred scarves took up more room than we even imagined– Mae Rote ended up lending us an extra bag to carry scarves back to our base in Khon Kaen. 

   
  
 
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      Mae Rote models the merchandise. 

Mae Rote models the merchandise. 

The next morning, several other weavers joined us for breakfast on Mae Rote’s porch and we excitedly chatted about our early success and plans for the business. We showed them our protesting granny stickers and explained to the weavers the meaning of “Radical Grandma” in Thai. They all got a kick out the name and we shared many laughs and ideas about officially becoming business women and promoting the grandmas. As the sun started to warm up the day in the village, Mae Rote pulled the baht we brought for scarves out of her pockets and divided it among the weavers based on how many scarves they wove. The weavers also agreed to give a portion of they money to the mining resistance group called People Who Love Their Hometown. Other women in the village stopped by and expressed that they want to join the weaving group too. We're always happy to have more talented women on our team. 

Back in Khon Kaen we’ve set up our own workshop to get the scarves ready to ship next week. Our friends at Numgunde Studio, a handmade bag shop nearby, have been helping us out by sewing “RadGram” logo tags onto our scarves and we’ve been busy labeling envelops, printing stickers, and creating informational materials to go with the scarves. 

Thanks again to everyone who has supported us so far. We can’t wait to send you scarves and hope you enjoy wearing them as much as we do! Our Indiegogo still has five days left so there is still time to donate and claim a scarf if you haven’t already. You can follow this blog to stay posted on the radical grandmas and get a behind the scenes look at the business as it takes off.  

Zoe Swartz