On an otherwise reasonable evening, more than 1,000 people packed an auditorium in Boulder, Colorado, for the culmination of the 2012 Unreasonable Institute. They came to see 23 ventures present their solutions to some of the world’s greatest challenges.

Ellen Li, Founder and CEO of Ja Bru Rigs Trade Co. shares how her venture works together with rural women in China to make traditional embroidery into product combining with modern art. Each of our product would tell one story. It comes from rural community’s native culture and matches with the embroidery pattern. Consumer can enjoy these stories through different products, e.g. stationary, bag, jewelry and house aeessory. To breaking the productivity limit of handicraft, we’ve been establishing easy – complicate cooperation with villages, that enable us to quickly finish large order of thousands pieces in short time. Today we are selling our products in 5 main cities in China (e.g. Beijing, Shanghai), and will further explore online markets, for example: taobao and amazon.

What is the urgent social or environmental need you’re addressing?

China is famous for its amazing GDP growth as well as its increasing gap between the rich and the poor. Average annual income per person in Beijing is reaching USD 5700, yet we still have 10% of population live under poverty line ( annual income per person USD365), over 60% of them are women. They normally live in remote villages, take care of children and parents when their husband work in cities. They have very few opporunity to really broaden their living as they normally are only educated by primary school. On the other hand, many of them are talented embroiderer, they document their history and living in embroidery, if time goes back to 20 years ago, a young woman may not find a good husband if she is not a good embroiderer. But the old technique is at the verge of extinction, “it is out of date and can’t bring income any more” , young women refuse to learn the technique and only women above 40 years old still pick up niddle.

What is your solution to this need? Describe your business strategy.

1, Give women sustainable embroidery orders
2, Motivate immigrant rural women in Beijing to organize sewing group, who finish final production (e.g. bag) and sell them at stores offline
3, Establish website -online shop and deliver Chinese culture and living story to consumers worldwide
4, Open all resources (including sales channels, communities, and sewing group) to all other designers, provide service along the supply chain and engage everbody possible into the handicraft development



Unreasonable Institute

Author Unreasonable Institute

The Unreasonable Institute arms entrepreneurs creating solutions to the world’s biggest social and environmental problems with the mentorship, capital, and networks they need to do so.

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