The Wise Consumer podcast is where social entrepreneurs who are using business as a force for good share their inspiring journeys and fascinating stories. Madeleine Wisecup, host of The Wise Consumer podcast, interviews founders who are creating more ecologically, sustainable and socially responsible ways of producing goods and running companies.
These entrepreneurs share their paths to starting their businesses, the highs and lows along the way, and discuss their unique perspectives on how they are working to create positive change in their communities and our world.
Madeleine recently published a Made Trade mini-series where she interviewed Made Trade founder, Cayley Pater, and the founders of three Made Trade brands, Dounia Tamri-Loeper of Dounia Home, Ibrahim Shams of Kiliim, and Janeane Marie of Manta.
We are honored Madeleine provided these founders an opportunity to communicate their inspiring stories with her audience, and we are excited to now share these incredible episodes with you.
Cayley Pater, Made Trade
About this episode
In the first episode of the Wise Consumer & Made Trade mini-series, Madeleine interviews Made Trade founder, Cayley Pater. In this interview, Cayley shares how her love of languages led to working with artisans and starting a fair trade brand in Palestine, before launching Made Trade. Cayley also shares the complexities of defining an ethical product and how Made Trade vets brands given those challenges.
Quotable: “Products are an amazing way to connect with people and to connect with cultures, and a way to bring beauty and meaning into our lives. There are always people behind the products we buy so every time we buy something we can bring products into our lives that have a positive impact—we can learn about a culture and support ancient techniques that are at risk of being lost."
Dounia Tamri-Loeper, Dounia Home
About Dounia Home
Dounia Home is a lighting and home brand blending contemporary design with the traditional Moroccan craft of metalworking. Their stunning, modern pieces are made responsibly in Morocco with locally-sourced materials and thoughtfully crafted by artisans using heritage metalworking techniques.
Owner Dounia Tamri-Loeper works directly with two small groups of metalworkers on a regular basis—by using this Direct Trade model, she can ensure transparency and is able to pay 30% higher wages on average to the artisans she partners with.
About this episode
In this interview, Dounia shares the journey to starting Dounia Home—from the childhood experiences in Morocco that inspired her to become an artist, to how she bridged her Moroccon heritage with her design expertise to launch Dounia Home. Dounia also talks about her passion working with local artisans and describes the production process from design to the final product. She also delves into the importance of using locally-sourced materials and being a mindful consumer.
Quotable: “It's always been about doing what I love, which is design, and helping people along the way. I knew that I wanted to work with artisans because I knew they needed it the most, I knew they were the group were taken advantage of the most. That really was 100% my motivation behind working with them. Yes, its smaller production, its longer production, it’s harder production, and yet, that’s what I wanted—to work with people who do a really good job and pay them very well."
Ibrahim Shams, Kiliim
Kiliim is an Egyptian social enterprise with home goods made in Fowwa, Egypt using the ancient kilim weaving technique. The brand's high-quality, vibrant rugs and pillows are made by hand from 100% Egyptian cotton or Egyptian wool. By pairing modern designs with a generations-old weaving craft Kiliim has created an innovative solution to revive and sustain this heritage art form.
Kiliim is a certified member of the World Fair Trade Organization and is committed to providing sustainable economic opportunities for their artisans. In fact, the artisans employed by Kiliim have reported that they've seen a 50% increase in their monthly income since working with the brand.
About this episode
In this episode, Ibrahim shares the inspiration behind founding Kiliim, the challenges that he and Noha (Ibrahim's wife and Kiliim's co-founder) had to overcome to get the brand off the ground, and the process to create their gorgeous textiles. Ibrahim also explained the history and cultural significance of kilim, the importance of reviving traditional crafts, and gave advice to aspiring social entrepreneurs.
Quotable: Once we started doing some research on why the craft was declining we found out that one of the main factors was that the craftsmen were not compensated well enough. So we thought that it was crucial that these people make enough money to sustain their living, to provide for their families, and that their families and their children would actually see them prospering so that we can ensure that these people are motivated and compensated enough to practice the craft and start passing it on to the new generation."
Janeane Marie, Manta
About this episode
Janeane shares her unique path to starting Manta—how she went from being "anti-fashion" to working in the fashion industry and how she transitioned from a career in fast fashion to creating an ethical, sustainable brand. Janeane also gives listeners a glimpse into her creative process designing Manta's collection and shares her thoughts around why conscious consumerism matters.
Quotable: "My wish is that people would buy less, but buy better. But also have a moment every time you decide to purchase something, hold it in your hands and think, this came from somewhere and it's going somewhere. Where did it come from? Who made this? How did this turn into yarn and into clothes? It touched so many hands. I'm going to have it in my life for a period of time, and then I won't—what happens after that? So when you touch it, you're responsible for the entire timeline of that piece of clothing, as with any product."