Katherine Jeffery discovered long ago she had a gift for seeing potential in people and drawing it out. Her professional journey has included founding and running a foster care program, coaching at-risk youth to avoid incarceration, and teaching leadership development to college students. Seven years ago, Katherine’s gift extended to seeing the potential in a business concept as well. When a friend of a friend she had just met shared details about a trip to East Africa and an idea to help pull people out of poverty, Katherine knew she wanted in. She took a big leap of faith, partnering with someone who was practically a stranger, and developed CAUSEGEAR.
In the process of founding the organization, Katherine fell in love with the mission of CAUSEGEAR and with Brad Jeffery, the cofounder she built it with. Today the two are married and running the successful social enterprise together. CAUSEGEAR provides job opportunities to nearly 100 women and men in India making handcrafted apparel and accessories.
Ultimately, the pair decided to focus on working with women in India because it has the highest number of citizens living at the international poverty level ($1.90 a day). In addition to empowering women to realize their full potential, the work enables them to escape the cycle of human trafficking, slavery and extreme poverty they might otherwise face. By working for CAUSEGEAR and its sister brand, MADE BY FREE WOMEN, these women have access to and can freely pay for clothing, shelter, medication and education for their families without having to endure the ongoing abuse that many Indian women are subjected to.
The products are sold online and made with sustainable and eco-friendly materials whenever possible. CAUSEGEAR also offers a branding program and works directly with corporations to create branded totes, notebooks and other basic, conference and event gear. The number of days of freedom for women are measured and tagged on every item, demonstrating a tangible and sustainable impact. It’s a win-win because organizations are already buying the items, and when they partner with CAUSEGEAR they can consider it part of their corporate social responsibility efforts as well.
CAUSEGEAR’s mission is to help 1 million people find freedom through self-sustaining jobs. While they have a way to go to achieve this ambitious goal, Katherine is encouraged by every woman she meets who has been helped by her organization. What drives her is the reality that for many, their ability to safely earn money is truly a matter of life and death.
To learn more about Katherine’s business, visit CAUSEGEAR.com.
Are you ready to courageously share your story with the world and open the door to resources and opportunities? My Founder Story takes you through the process of clarifying your WHY and developing your WHYography—a powerful short story designed to articulate and elevate your purpose, and an essential tool for leveraging your business with potential investors, partners and supporters. Learn more here.