Ocean Beach business owner believes in ‘seeking justice, improving inequality’ through her company


Despite the fact that Alicia Wallace analyzed world development and acquired a diploma in economics — to begin with on the lookout to do the job her way up the corporate ladder — she’d also used a number of her youthful yrs volunteering through her church’s global mission outings and with unhoused people today in Seattle.

When performing at a law firm during college or university, she was developing bored and preferred to journey and practical experience other cultures, so she volunteered to be a part of a journey to Sierra Leone in 2009 with a group of medical doctors and nurses exactly where she’d help clients examine in to a clinic.

“My coronary heart was damaged by the working experience. Males and ladies could not fulfill their essential requires. Children with burns went with out remedy for times and weeks,” she suggests. “I arrived back again to the U.S. with a good deal of guilt, and I made the decision I couldn’t wait until finally the last 3rd of my lifestyle to do anything about it. I had to do it now.”

In 2013, she and her company lover, Greg Stone, launched All Throughout Africa, which connects artisan communities and components in Rwanda, Uganda, Ghana and Tanzania with enterprise and infrastructure in the United States to present wholesale and retail products and solutions.

KAZI, their San Diego-based enterprise that falls underneath their All Across Africa guardian business, employs virtually 6,000 artisans in Africa and sells their handcrafted and sustainable cultural things via their site, Amazon storefront, and nearby boutiques. KAZI retains a Nest Seal of Moral Handcraft designation — outlining specifications for good wages, benefits, sourcing of resources, a motivation to care for the surrounding environment, wellness and security, anti-youngster labor procedures, and workers’ legal rights — a image that identifies goods becoming sold as ethically produced in a house or modest workshop.

Wallace, 35, is the chief operating officer of All Across Africa and life in Ocean Seaside with her husband, Jordan Epstein, and their young children, Elijah and Eden (and they foster two small children in Uganda). She took some time to discuss about making careers in rural locations of Africa, what she’s realized from the women who produce the handmade items her company sells, and acknowledging her desire of residing in the vicinity of a beach and driving a Volkswagen bug.

Q: Why was producing All Across Africa and KAZI some thing you wanted to do?

A: Through training and other outreach get the job done, I met numerous African women of all ages who explained to me that dependable revenue could present a lifestyle-changing influence for their people. I grew to become encouraged to obtain a way to make that happen.

Producing meaningful connections and cash flow options in marginalized communities grew to become my mission. My intention is to split down boundaries by connecting individuals and items across financial lines and nations around the world to develop meaningful, optimistic and inclusive social modify.

I imagine we every have a role to enjoy in seeking justice, improving inequality, and creating peace in the world, and that developing much better enterprises alongside one another can make that transpire.

Q: What knowledgeable your decisions to acquire the Nest Seal of Moral Handcraft designation for your solutions?

A: I met a director of Nest at a convention, and though she commended me for our efforts, she also pointed out the gaps and fears important companies are facing when it arrives to functioning with the handcraft sector.

The adhering to yr, we reconnected and Nest experienced just released its seal at the United Nations and had certified 3 corporations. We had been the fifth, and the first independent firm, with the seal. We have the Nest Seal in Rwanda, Uganda and Ghana and are functioning toward our seal in our most current state, Tanzania. Each individual yr, the rigor of the seal turns into far more hard, but we imagine it’s critical. We want to come to be far better for people and the world, and we respect the accountability a partner like Nest delivers.

Q: Why Africa?

A: With a inhabitants a lot more than 1 billion and a reduced labor desire, unemployment is as superior as [7.3 percent in 2020, according to the World Bank, using data from the International Labour Organization] across sub-Saharan Africa. All through the continent, males and women need to have income that sustainable work supply to assistance their family members with food stuff, shelter, and education. By way of my travels and conversations with females in these rural countries, I recognized that if we could build work opportunities with honest/increased wages in these regions, charitable help and poverty aid endeavours would no for a longer time be essential.

What I enjoy about Ocean Beach …

I’ve been below for nine a long time and have cherished every single moment of it. OB is a funky place with a whole lot of distinctive people today coming with each other — some to chill, some to build art, some to take pleasure in the seaside. It’s a excellent position to return household to after tons of world vacation to a lot of climates and cultures.

Q: What have you acquired from the females you have labored with in rural spots in Africa that you have been in a position to use to your own lifetime?

A: The females we operate with have expert tremendous adversity and agony. They have tiny obtain to healthcare, they know the ache of starvation for them selves and their kids, they have skilled war, genocide, or famine but they also have pleasure and they are present.

On my most recent trip in February, a substantial rainstorm crushed our very hectic timeline for the working day. A person girl got up and was doing work to squeegee the h2o out of the doorway so it did not flood into the middle of the room exactly where most of us were sitting. Following a little bit, she commenced singing. Then, she additional a bit of a dance. Inside of minutes, all of us had been up, singing and dancing, praising the rain for coming and blessing the fertile lands.

Q: You operate a firm that sells house décor things. What does the décor in your house glimpse like?

A: I live in an condominium shut to the seashore in Ocean Seashore and have so a lot of distinctive items all through my dwelling! I have a large piece in my dining place that my 3-yr-outdated tells me “came from outside” because it is produced of banana fibers and seems a bit like a tree. I like the concept of bringing the outside in.

I also have a lot of baskets for my minimal ones’ toys — Eden has her preferred autos in a lidded basket, Eli has his toys in some Ghana storage baskets. I also use our cope with oval baskets for diaper storage and the like.

Q: What has this do the job taught you about you?

A: It’s taught me how to persevere. Our artisans have specified me an inside voice for when things are difficult to notify myself, “If they can endure and prosper by that, I can do this.” My issues and troubles are nevertheless valid and actual, but I now have a distinct point of view.

Q: What is the best suggestions you’ve ever obtained?

A: My business partner and I have encountered lots of troubles about the very last 12 decades of performing collectively and nine many years of running our business enterprise. We’ve designed a mantra that we remind ourselves of when issues get tough, “We’ve received this.” We keep on to notify ourselves that, and feel it, even when it feels like the odds are stacked towards us. It’s a very little little bit of “faking it ‘til you make it” and a very little little bit of the raise of self-confidence we need to persevere through the worst.

Q: What is a person factor individuals would be astonished to uncover out about you?

A: I very own a ‘79 convertible Volkswagen bug. I adore it! My desire was to move from Seattle in 2013 and get a spot around the seaside and get a bug. I bought the bug before I moved to San Diego and expended a several many years refurnishing it. Now that my young ones are receiving out of diapers, I system to seashore cruise a minor additional than I have in the last few yrs.

Q: Be sure to describe your perfect San Diego weekend.

A: Our suitable weekend is put in in Ocean Beach wandering the streets, discovering the pier, and going to the seaside. We also appreciate having out of our neighborhood and checking out Balboa Park or heading out to see our close friends and actively playing on the Shelter Island playground. San Diego has the most attractive parks and kids’ locations in the planet. I’m so grateful to live in this attractive spot.





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