Radical Grandma Collective One Year Retrospective

One year ago today, I was sitting on a beat up couch in our little house in Khon Kaen, Thailand with Katie and Mariko, two of the other RadGrams founders, continuously refreshing our browser to excitedly watch the donations roll in. We had only launched the Indiegogo campaign for the Radical Grandma Collective earlier that day and already we were approaching our goal of $3,500.  Even at nine in the evening it was sweltering hot and we had to speak up above the dull roar of our two rickety fans to announce the name of each new contributor, which filled us with a mixture of thrill and shock each time. After months of planning and dreaming, we finally had something real to show and, even more amazing to us, other people believed in our vision too. As minutes and hours raced by, the dollars raised steadily climbed. To our astonishment and delight, we realized that we could likely meet our goal that first day and we vowed to stay up until our goal was met. When the magic number finally arrived, we cheered and finally allowed ourselves to give in to our sleepiness, even though our minds were still brimming with a mixture of disbelief and joy.

By the end of our campaign, we raised $8,983, meeting our goal by 245%! As elated as we were, this initial success was only a first step and the reality of all that we would need to learn and figure out was starting to set in. Although daunting, our team was lucky enough to have a diverse skill set and a ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ attitude. Not one of us could have mastered running an international business by ourselves but we all set out to learn some of the new skills needed- website development, marketing, photographing products, communicating order forms across language barriers, and much more! Now, a year later, while we will always have more to learn, we can proudly say that we run a growing business that meets our goal of supporting the community and activism of the grandmas in Na Nong Bong. As RadGram approaches its first birthday, we’ve decided to take this opportunity to update you, our devoted supporters, on some of our major accomplishments this year.

  1. $7,178 (248,646 baht) brought straight to the pockets of grandmas. RadGrams isn’t all about the money but we are pretty stoked to be able to bring this much financial support to the Na Nong Bong community.

  2. We have a beautiful online store and website! Through the website alone, we’ve sold 157 scarves and blankets. Let’s also give a shout out to Katie Mathieson for putting the site together! Talk about learning new skills, Katie took on the whole web design process and created a professional product that captures the spirit of RadGram!

  3. The grandmas starred in a short film! The Color Four teamed up with RadGrams to create a stunning video about the grandmas, their weaving, their fight, and their community. The piece was so inspiring that it was featured on NowThis Her and received over 100 thousand views!

  4. RadGrams went on tour! Katie and her mom, Carol,  took the scarves on a west coast roadtrip in a vintage camper van. They visited 7 cities and only showered twice! Impressive!

All around, RadGram is a team effort and it wouldn’t be possible without support from all of you! Thank you so much for all of your purchases, shares, and kind words. We are grateful to be able bring RadGram into its second year and continue to grow. Moving forward, we and the grandmas have some big plans that we will be sharing in the upcoming months. When radical women work together, anything is possible.

Cheers to The Radical Grandma Collective!

Zoe Swartz