Today we’re launching a new series of GSP company profiles. They will highlight specific users of the program, the struggles they faced during the last GSP expiration, and the positive growth they have been able to achieve since Congress renewed the GSP program back in June 2015.
(Profiles are based primarily on responses to our GSP renewal impact survey. Though launched in August 2016, we are always looking for more company examples, so please take a moment to complete the survey if you have not already.)
On International Women’s Day, it only seemed right to spotlight WorldFinds in Westmont, Illinois, a woman-founded and run company dedicated to empowering women in the developing world through fair trade. WorldFinds imports handmade, custom jewelry from India that is sold in 900 stores across the United States. Yet its ability to promote development – both at home and abroad – very much depends on the GSP program. According to Founder/President Kelly Weinberger:
GSP is extremely important to our woman-owned, fair trade business. It not only helps our small staff here in the U.S., but our business provides low-income artisan groups in India with sustainable work.
When GSP expired in 2013, WorldFinds feared that raising prices would reduce sales on GSP products. Instead of risking lower sales, it opted to reduce profits margin, but that was not without cost: WorldFinds has to freeze U.S. hiring and salary increases. Over the course of the expiration, WorldFinds paid about $55,000 in extra tariffs.
GSP renewal changed that. WorldFinds hired one full-time employee and recently brought on another part-time worker – a big increase for a small business with a staff of (now) nine. GSP renewal also allowed it to invest in new office technology.
The company’s global initiatives, such as its Girls Education Fund, also benefit from renewal. The fund provides additional resources to the most marginalized families in its artisan communities in India through support such tuition fees, school uniforms, transportation, and books. Its recent increase in orders allowed WorldFinds’ artisan groups to send three times as many girls to school.
Continuation of the GSP program beyond its scheduled expiration on December 31 is vital to WorldFinds’ ability to create jobs and improve lives, both in the United States and India.
Click on the image below to download the GSP company profile for WorldFinds.