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Kendra Morris

Creator, Rural Revolution

Can a beautiful piece of jewelry sold in New Orleans help women around the world? Kendra Jones Morris thinks so.

Her company, Rural Revolution, empowers female entrepreneurs by connecting artisans in developing regions of the world with sales ambassadors in the United States. The New Orleans-based company boasts a wide array of gorgeous wares, such as recycled metal bead necklaces handcrafted by women in Ethiopia. Furthermore, proceeds from sales help provide the artisans with healthcare, education and microloans.

When Morris’ father became involved in reforestation work in China, she decided to get involved as well by creating Rural Revolution. The first product, a walnut-based body scrub, raised funds for the Committee For National Resources – an organization that educates rural farmers about sustainable farming techniques. The scrub soon gained popularity, and it was even featured in Emmy gift bags.

After Morris earned a Propeller Accelerator Fellowship, she and her family moved to New Orleans. Rural Revolution grew quickly, and Morris drew on her experience as a cultural liaison for the Caribbean to help empower female artisans around the world. Now, Rural Revolution has grown into a group of female artisans in a co-op, with a focus on jewelry and handbags. Given this model, female artisans have a chance to take part in a microbusiness, and Western consumers get access to their beautiful wares.
 “I love people,” Morris says. “Being a part of people’s journey, walking with them and developing a product is the most rewarding aspect of my work.”

Overall, the focus is on helping others at Rural Revolution. Morris’ goal is to find artisans in need and help them become more marketable to a Western consumer base.

Furthermore, Rural Revolution offers services to organizations and individuals exploring the benefit of sustainable business models for the disadvantaged. Its services include: concept development, research, mediation, branding, photography, marketing and distribution.

A Group Effort

Rural Revolution has worked with: Hope International, Kiva, Royal Caribbean, Idea, Element clothing, Propeller, the Haitian Bead Project, Maasai tribal women, Peruvian female artisans, Raven + Lily, Italian female artisans, Challenge Farms, the United States Government, the University of Central Florida, MASNO, the Orlando Union Rescue Mission, New Orleans Fashion Week and the Jamaican government.

To learn more, visit Rural Revolution’s website: ruralrev.com.

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