BSWANKY focuses on immigrant women working conditions
SARASOTA -It’s a sanctuary where you might expect to find a sweatshop. This Sarasota business is redefining the treatment of immigrant women.
And it’s all in their name, BSwanky. CEO Gretchen Bauer lives by the company’s motto, ‘B the Difference.’
“It’s about the purpose behind the purse, the person behind the purse, the women behind the purse," says Bauer. She says conditions at many U.S. garment factories are disgraceful. She set out to provide better, foregoing an office for herself and paying the immigrant seamstresses 30% above the industry average.
“This is a culture of ongoing learning. We want everyone to be able to cross train, multitask and be able to create," explains Bauer.
Right behind BSWANKY’s sleek showroom is a cheerful, clean, welcoming factory. Here is where Bauer encourages immigrant women employees to flourish, like Venezuelan seamstress Magnabel Marin.
“In everything that you do, do it well. Be the best!" says Marin.
One could argue Marin puts her best into these elegant purses. “I don’t think that any job is dishonest. If you do it well, you keep the path. Whether you’re an immigrant or a citizen, I think the message is be honest with yourself and focus on the job and focus on the fact that you can do it," says Marin.
And they are doing it. Bauer says demand is growing from locals and celebrities alike for BSWANKY’s innovative multifunctional bags, which retail between $250-$1600 dollars.. Even with all her swiftly found success, Bauer remains passionate behind her project.
"The message is that women need to empower other women, we need to support other women," says Bauer.
Visit BSWANKY for more information.