How We Solve

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Ep 31: Building a Public Benefit Corporation with Dr. Vanessa Bouche

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Ep 31: Building a Public Benefit Corporation with Dr. Vanessa Bouche

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Problem: How to Help Human Trafficking Survivors from India

After meeting a sex worker in India, Dr. Vanessa Bouche decided to take some action, by co-founding a company called Savhera Essential Oils and Aromatherapy Products, in order to tap into a market indigenous to India, which honored Indian culture and heritage and to be based on a wellness product. Vanessa and her co-founders wanted to find a marketplace that would continue to grow in the next ten years.

We wanted it to be a wellness company because everything about what we do is about wellness.

Savhera currently employs seven sex trafficking survivors in Dehli, India, and two survivors in the United States. 

How does Vanessa find and employ survivors?

They work with NGOs (a non-government organization) in India that educate and help women in the red-light districts and brothels. They also work with NGOs in the United States to find survivors who are having trouble finding employment for a myriad of reasons.

How does Savhera work with the United States and Indian-based locations? 

The women who work for Savhera in India work in production-based jobs. Savhera pays them to double their normal living wage for the women to be able to construct and work on building products for the company. Since production-based jobs in the United States don’t make as much money, the survivors employed in the US are working in the knowledge aspects of the business: computer-based jobs, fulfillments, sales, and management.

Is it limiting to work with a niche?

As Savhera grows they will continue to ask the question, “Is there a way to have a survivor work that job?” They are determined to invest time and resources to helping survivors gain experience and knowledge in various trades and skills.

 

It can be difficult to hire survivors in India because the majority of survivors in India are illiterate. However, Savhera has been helping teach these survivors how to read and write, in order to better their lives and help open the doors to new opportunities. 

The Savhera Business Model

QUOTE: We have an interesting business model which is paying over the living wage to survivors of sex trafficking that don’t have a ton of job experience.

 

While Savhera’s focus is to help survivors of human trafficking, they are still a for-profit company and are classified as a public benefit corporation. They are also a pending b-corp operation; the only prerequisite the are waiting to meet is the “one-year as a business” qualification.

[We] have a double bottom line. That [our] bottom line is not just profit but also the people, and planet, and purpose.

What is next for Savhera?

They are excited to expand into other product lines. For example, they are currently working on a line of defusing jewelry. They are also starting to mix their own line of essential oil products like beard oil, bug spray, shower sprays, and pillow mist. They are also working with a new aromatherapist who is developing new blends for products. This aromatherapist is also a survivor.

This interview is part of the How We Solve podcast. To hear more from industry experts who are solving everyday business problems, check us out on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and on our website.

About the guest

Dr. Vanessa Bouche

Dr. Vanessa Bouche is a professor of political science and cofounder of Savhera. Their aim is to provide customers with premium essential oil products that contribute to wellness, justice, and sustainability at home and around the world.

How people can people reach the guest:

Website: Savhera

Facebook: @savherawellness

Twitter:  @savherawellness

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