June 2016

1) Monthly Video

2) Description of Activities

A. Tie-Dye Apprenticeship

Matilda Lartey - Matilda Flow Co.'s first Ghanaian entrepreneur partner - undertakes a week-long tie-dye apprenticeship. We identify a master, who owns a tie-dye cloth-making shop in Nima Market in Accra, and he spends five days on-site, instructing Matilda in tie-dye techniques and safety. MFC gives funds to purchase materials including twenty-four yards of cloth, gloves, vat dyes, bowls, rubber droppers, and mats for the workplace - all of which are purchased locally at Makola Market, the large central market in Accra. The master also spends one-day, instructing Matilda in batik tie-dye, which is a similar but more complicated style that requires heated wax and includes stamping. After completing the apprenticeship, Matilda can produce tie-dye clothes of all colors and patterns independently and train others.

B. Prototype Fabric & Clothes

Matilda produces twenty-four yards of colorful tie-dye fabrics during her apprenticeship. MFC submits some preliminary designs using these fabrics to her for a sweatshirt, trousers, jacket, and shorts using these fabrics. Matilda currently has one hand-powered sewing machine and one industrial sewing machine but lacks a knitting machine to finish the edges of clothing. MFC purchases an industrial knitting machine for Matilda, so she can begin manufacturing the prototypes.

C. Workshop Construction Begins

Weekly meetings are held during June with Matilda to discuss her interests in expanding her workshop. Her current workshop is located in a small roadside shipping crate less than one hundred meters from her house. Matilda suggests constructing an expanded workshop on her property that will be accessible to people with disabilities and have space for up to ten sewing machines. At the end of the month, MFC provides funding for roofing, cement, plywood, and other materials for construction along with the masonry and carpentry work, which begins at the end of the month.

D. Communicate Mission & Vision to Supporters

Matilda Flow Co. project selects a preliminary slogan of "cool + colorful clothes that flow out of stories" and sets a vision of becoming a medium-sized art-driven social enterprise, producing clothes attached to children's stories. This mission and vision is communicated via emails and personal social media to friends and family of the project.

E. Release Design Sketches & Prototypes

Initial design sketches and prototypes are posted on social media and sent out via email to friends and family of the project for feedback about the clothes and accessories we plan to manufacture. 

F. Selection of Matilda as First Entrepreneur Partner

Matilda is considered a desirable partner due to her demonstrated work ethic and willingness to move quickly in Ghana (which often moves slowly), her previous experiences as a businesswoman (owning a provisions shop in addition to her current sewing workshop), her own and her daughter's personal experiences with exclusion, and her often expressed desire to expand her shop.

G. Employment of Persons with Disabilities and Caregivers

While the initial idea for Matilda Flow Co. was simply to generate revenue in Ghana, we've met a number of persons with disabilities, who are trained in or interested in seamstress work. Due to its generally stationary nature, it is ideal for people with physical disabilities that may limit their mobility. By making persons with disabilities or caregivers and parents of children with disabilities the core purpose of our business, we are able to advance our social impact of inclusion within the business itself.

H. On-Going Search for Local Organic Cotton

To protect our environment from degradation by fast-fashion, MFC commits to being as environmentally sustainable in its processes. Cotton fabric requires enormous water resources to produce, is grown using harmful fertilizers that pollute waterways and can harm farmers, and is often knitted in workplaces where workers do not receive adequate compensation. To counter this, MFC begins searching for organic cotton suppliers. The goal is to find a supplier who is located in West Africa. Although some cotton is grown in northern Ghana, no organic cotton is yet grown. Nonetheless, emails are sent out to relevant NGOs and businesses across West Africa to try to locate a supplier.

3) Financial Report

Expenses This Month: $1612.20

Workers: $311.79

Date: Cost (GHC): Cost (USD): Details:
6/13/16 300 77.92 Tie-Dye Master, Instruction Fee
6/16/16 200 51.95 Tie-Dye Master, Instruction Fee
Matilda Lartey, Prototype Designs

Materials: $289.83

Date: Cost (GHC): Cost (USD): Details:
6/7/16 105 27.27 24-Yards Non-Organic Cotton Fabric
6/9/16 350 90.91 10 Dyes, Sodium Disulfide, Caustic Soda, Foam Stamps, Gloves
6/13/16 80 20.78 Rubber Mats, Pumps, Salt
6/14/16 157.5 40.91 36-Yards Non-Organic Cotton Fabric
6/16/16 150 38.96 Reactive Dyes, Wax, Stamps and Charcoal for Batik Tie-Dye
Containers, Caustic Soda, Sodium Disulfide, Mats, Masks, Bowls
6/23/16 86.5 22.47 12-Yard Non-Organic Cotton Fabric, Zippers, Cotton Bayers
6/23/16 98 25.44 Thread, Elastic, Machine Oil

Construction & Expansion: $1010.58

Date: Cost (GHC): Cost (USD): Details:
6/11/16 1360 324.68 Industrial Sewing Machine, Transport & Installation
6/28/16 1390 361.04
Wood Beams (2 x 6, 2 x 4, 2 x 3), Roofing, Plywood, Table Board
Cement Blocks, Nails, Sand, Masonry, Carpentry

Sales This Month: $0

Summation of Activities This Month:

  • 1 worker employed
  • 70 yards of non-organic cotton purchased
  • 1 workshop construction project started
  • 1 sewing machine purchased
  • 1 apprenticeship undertaken

Progress Since Launch: -$1612.20

Matilda Flow Co. project has been in operation for one-month. Sales have not started.

4) Interview

 No formal interviews were conducted this month.

5) Analysis

Financial Sustainability:

The project has incurred a loss of $1612.00 in operational and construction expenses since onset and does not plan to begin sales until August or September. Financial losses are expected for the first six month to the first year. Matilda's earnings increase over 50% through her compensation for prototype work compared to previous work. 

Environmental Sustainability:

Non-organic cotton is used for prototyping and tie-dye instruction due to the lack of available organic cotton locally. A less environmentally harmful alternative is needed before production can begin. Additional processes are needed to reduce reliance on local water resources and ensure safe disposal of dyes. Currently, water for tie-dye is carried from a borehole about 100 meters from the shop. 

Health-Related Sustainability:

Safety equipment - gloves, masks, and glasses - is introduced for the tie-dye process to protect Matilda from any accidental chemical splashes. 

Social Impact:

Matilda, our first female entrepreneur, receives a grant to expand her business, providing a mother with a daughter who has a disability with an opportunity to economically to advance her family and a hope of using her talents to make a positive contribution to the community. Accessibility features for persons with physical disabilities are included in the construction of her expanded workshop to enable the possibility of employment of persons who utilize wheelchairs.