Turning the dream into a plan...

 Paige and  Yai (grandma)  Wat get down to business. 

Paige and Yai (grandma) Wat get down to business. 

Two weeks ago, myself and two other students set out to draft a business plan for the Radical Grandma Collective to help it grow into an international business, per the request of the grandmas themselves.

For the final two weeks on our study abroad program in Thailand, we chose to break out of our usual realms of study: sociology, communications, and international affairs. We challenged ourselves instead to enter an unknown world of cost projections, cause marketing, and social media content. We used our love for the grandmas and their love of their village as motivation to compile as much information we could to help make the Radical Grandma Collective a successful and sustainable social enterprise.

 For the Kongsaens, the Radical Grandma Collective requires help from the whole family.  Mae Rote  and her daughters, Rote and Toom, read the order forms together. 

For the Kongsaens, the Radical Grandma Collective requires help from the whole family. Mae Rote and her daughters, Rote and Toom, read the order forms together. 

We now have a 50-page business plan that details almost everything we could think of, from Facebook advertising to tax exemptions to cost-benefit analysis of international shipping options. It’s a research resource that walks the reader through different marketing and sales strategies (i.e. should we sell the scarves to boutiques on consignment or wholesale?) and details the costs and potential profit with each option. With this tool, we believe the Grandmas and their American partners on the RadGram team can make informed decisions about what to do next.

But what’s really cool (and frightening) is that none of us have any formal marketing or business experience or education, but when there is a will, there is a way, and by being inspired by their touching stories, we were able to help our beloved Grandmas. We did extensive analyses that will hopefully be helpful to the Radical Grandmas and their village. And that’s the exciting part; after a semester of meeting villagers and staying with them in their communities throughout Northeast Thailand, including with our host families in Na Nong Bong, we have finally completed one of the first tangible steps in bringing the Radical Grandma Collective to an international market. We are so lucky to have had the opportunity to work with the wonderful, strong, and beautiful women who have given us their time, friendship, and unconditional love.
 

Paige Organick studies at Whitman College and studied abroad in Spring 2016 with CIEE Khon Kaen Development & Globalization.