SilverChicks Join Other Small Businesses in Attempt to Improve the Marketplace: Four Stay at Home Mothers Have Found Commonalities Through the http://www.

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Mothers in business join forces to create a responsible marketplace, with quality products and an altruistic nature- supporting non-profit, NGO's, they hope to change the world, one bead at a time.

SilverChicks join forces with Diplomat Bead and Bag, Silver Tukul Designs, and Lil’ Beastees T-shirts (http://www.sedaink.com). Rather than re-creating the wheel, these small businesses, operated by stay at home mothers, have pledged to work together toward creating the ideal marketplace.

The four business women - Valissa McGuffee of Cypress, Texas, Melissa Nordstrom of Odenton, Maryland, Alison Seda of Escondido, California, and Catie Dupont of Fairfax Station, Virginia - have found unity in business plans, artistry, goals, and dreams through the http://www.

These women are among a few lucky Americans who can legitimately call themselves modern nomads. Their professions and interests take them all over the world and along the way they have discovered and collected little gems and curios, items that make each culture special.

Their most recent adventure cut through the heart of Kenya and Ethiopia and their "finds" are treasures bargained for in small shops with village artisans. These business women believe that their small purchases support local families quite directly, their motto is “bringing the world together one bead at a time.”

With that thought in mind, Silverchicks is supporting EBCEF (the Ethiopian Books for Children and Educational Foundation, http://www.ethiopiareads.org ); a grassroots non profit/non government organization geared toward bringing literacy and literacy related resources to Ethiopia. It aims to develop a reading culture in Ethiopia by connecting children with books. Silverchicks will be selling three books about Ethiopia by noted children's author Jane Kurtz at the Houston International Festival and donating the proceeds to EBCEF.

They also believe that they help make the world a little smaller each time they connect a local craftsman and his creation with a consumer abroad. Their business is not to be the biggest exporter with the flashiest marketing, but to support the NGO community and local business person in communities they visit. They strive to be a member of a community of responsible human beings who care for each other through fair trade.

This goal is best represented by the Kazuri (Swahili word for small and beautiful) beads and jewelry that is featured in SilverChicks and Silver Tukul design jewelry. The Kazuri bead factory, located outside Nairobi, Kenya in Karin, was started in 1975 as a cottage industry with the social mission of making work for a few women. Initially less than 10 women were employed. As word of the beauty and uniqueness of the Kazuri beads, necklaces and earrings spread, sales increased and approximately 100 people are now employed. Many more Kenyan women wait in the hope of having an opportunity to join the ranks of those talented people who make small and beautiful objects. SilverChicks and Silver Tukul hope to bring a new sense of awareness about responsible consumerism; you can truly make an impact when you support Kazuri.

Lil’ Beastees T-shirts feature fun and sophisticated designs on children’s apparel. Wild and domesticated animals are created in pen and ink illustrations and then silk-screened on high quality children’s tee shirts. Each illustration also features a hidden heart. These unique, quality shirts complement the tone of SilverChicks and Silver Tukul beautifully.

You will find a charming selection of African treasures and trade beads and truly exciting African-inspired jewelry and accessories at http://www.SilverChicks.com. The wares are best described by jewelry designer Melissa Nordstrom who said, “I consider myself a student of the bead; research is as important as the jewelry creation and my hope is that in a small way the jewelry I make connects the modern person with ancient cultures.”

These businesses will debut their new partnership at the Houston International Festival on April 23 & 24, 2005 (http://www.ifest.org). Look for them there.

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Catherine Dupont