Branded Collective exists to empower survivors of human trafficking through their work. They are focused on the survivor's welfare, consistent quality of their products, and ethical production. Branded Collective aims to help survivors restore their name through its economic empowerment job program. Learn more about the brand, its story, and shop its collection.
What drove you to start your business?
We wanted to raise awareness about trafficking and help survivors in our hometown of Nashville, Tennessee. We decided to start a social enterprise that employs survivors, providing a job and creating an opportunity for economic independence.
Who are your employees or your artisans?
We employ survivors of trafficking in partnership with the non-profit End Slavery Tennessee, which is the single point of contact for trafficking tips in middle Tennessee.
How did you find them?
We work closely with End Slavery Tennessee (ESTN), which provides safe housing and rehabilitative services for survivors. The staff and care coordinators at ESTN identify survivors who are ready and who need a job and then refer them to us. We do a formal interview process from there!
What do they mean to you?
Our survivor artisans are the heart of our company. They mean everything! We have a survivor-focused model, which means that our priority is our survivors’ welfare and empowerment.
What made you decide to start producing ethically?
We have always sought to produce our products ethically, and whenever possible we buy products locally or from the U.S. This effort is essentially in response to trying to NOT be a part of the trafficking problem. There is a lot of labor trafficking which is hard to identify within a supply chain, and we want to try our best to avoid products that are made without fair wages or through unethical treatment.
What impact has your business had on your community?
We have employed 24 survivors of trafficking, and our collective of patrons raising awareness about trafficking (wearing a BRANDED piece) is over 40,000 strong!
What was the most difficult part of starting and running your business?
I would say the most difficult part is that there is no road map. We have learned a lot along the way from trial and error!
What has been the most rewarding outcome of your business?
The most rewarding outcome of our business is seeing the lives of the women we serve changed for good. A few examples: we’ve seen women get their own places, get custody or visiting rights with their children, save money and buy a car, go to college, and get new jobs in the field of their choice.
What is your company’s mission?
We exist to empower survivors of trafficking through meaningful work and economic independence.
We hope each survivor will be inspired to rediscover the dreams she has lost and be motivated to go forth and pursue them. We seek to unite a collective of survivors and patrons who work together to advance the abolition of human trafficking.