It's Just Business, Right?

It's Just Business, Right?

It’s just business, right?

Well, not exactly. While living in Ethiopia from 2009-2010, I became very intrigued at how the convergence of business and economics impacted the lives of people. There was wealth like I had never seen before (not so credit-based as in the US) and there was also poverty, like what was readily displayed on television in the United States. Graduate school afforded me the opportunity to study this in a bit more depth, while living there allowed me to see how theory plays out in the real world. 

Coffee is one of Ethiopia’s top imports. Approximately 15 million Ethiopian families rely on coffee for their livelihood. But if we’re paying $3.00 for a cup of coffee, how much did the farmer actually receive? This raised many questions around ethics and sustainability, along with the desire to do things differently if I ever did business. 

The economic culture we’ve inherited makes this very difficult. Making a profit, the ultimate goal of most businesses, is quite difficult. Labor alone can account for more than 30% of a business’s expenditures. As a result, businesses cut costs where they can. This is where things get even muddier. What is sacrificed to grow the bottom line? 

At Idris’s Pieces, We face this issue constantly. 

Should we use the cheaper, plastic jars like our most popular competitors? 
What about petrochemicals?
Should we source a lower quality product to meet the price threshold that most customers are willing to pay?
Under what conditions was this product produced?
And don’t you want to offer the best quality? Can’t you use cheaper fragrances instead of essential oils? 

The list goes on and on, and on and on (my cipher keeps… jkjk).

Our goal is to offer you the best of what’s available. The best product, produced in the best manner, sustainably packaged, all with care and concern for people, our environment, and our wellbeing. It’s a journey that we look forward to sharing with you. Check us out next month for the next blog post. Thanks y'all! 


(Photo: The people and streets of Mercato, the largest outdoor market in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Taken by: Nasr Nance)

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