For anyone who ever wished for a guide to help cut through the endless supply of e-commerce products out there, meet entrepreneurs Rupa Ganguli and Emma Dick and their platform, Inclusive Trade.
Far from Amazon, eBay, or even Etsy, Inclusive Trade is a London-based micro e-commerce platform that “connects tradition with technology,” curating amazing products and helping to unearth some spectacular men’s socks from Guatemalan entrepreneur Antonio Prahl.
Inclusive Trade provided socks to Modern Fellows at no cost for the purpose of this review.
photo credit: Inclusive Trade
Reviewing the Inclusive Trade e-Commerce Platform: #shopbyimpact
Ganguli told Modern Fellows that “there are all these wonderful stories that accompany the beautiful products” that entrepreneurs and artisans craft around the world, but that makers often take the stories about their businesses and the impact that their entrepreneurship has on their communities for granted.
So she thought, “why don’t we give the consumer the backstory?” (This is an effort that resonates around here: Getting to know menswear entrepreneurs’ stories is core to Modern Fellows’ mission.)
Her and her team at Inclusive Trade emphasize the great global stories of the small businesses they uncover. They categorize companies on the Inclusive Trade platform by the impact they have on their communities, the environment, gender inclusiveness and preserving local craft skills.
While the initiative began with the goal of providing visibility to women entrepreneurs across the world and went live with relationships with about 5 brands, today they have more than a dozen brands on the platform and offer a range of women’s fashion, household, wellness and menswear items.
photo credit: Inclusive Trade
Review: Antonio Prahl’s Funky Mens Socks
Over the past several years, Guatemalan entrepreneur Antonio Prahl, pictured above, transformed his family’s nearly 50 year-old textile concern into a modern manufacturing company. (Check out Pralin’s Facebook page for more.)
As Inclusive Trade notes on its website:
“Antonio set up this environmentally friendly socks manufacturing unit in one of Guatemala’s poorest regions and trained the local population while providing jobs and access to utilities to the majority of the region. He slowly but steadily grew the company and factory while empowering hundreds of families who became part of his Pralin family over the years.”
One initial challenge entrepreneurs like Prahl face is visibility. How does an entrepreneur like Prahl reach the world from his base in Guatemala City?
The role of Inclusive Trade is to provide a great deal of that visibility, as well as storytelling (aka marketing), and fulfillment services, enabling a company like Pralin to reach men’s sock enthusiasts around the world.
As for the socks themselves?
The fiber content is a solid combination of combed cotton, polyester, spandex and rubber, which sill feels super-soft and stays comfortably-up on your leg after multiple washings. Thus far they are durable and show no signs of wear.
Prahl’s designs are fun and funky, using bright color patterns, unusual shapes and, in some cases, contrasting patterns to add interest to a man’s outfit. My personal favorite is the Pick-a-Blue pair, which goes well with jeans or a suit.
Ganguli of Inclusive Trade is also excited about Prahl’s Experiment in Progress line, a whimsical design featuring test tubes, beakers, and scientific symbols. Prahl found inspiration for the line from a 7-year old out of London, who created similar work for his elementary school’s science journal cover.
At around US$13, Prahl’s unique socks are about what you would expect to pay elsewhere for high-quality, colorful socks. They come with the added benefit of shopping by impact and supporting Antonio Prahl’s great global journey.
About JakeJake is an expert on men’s style and fashion based in Washington, DC. He founded Modern Fellows in 2012 to get to know the entrepreneurs and innovative clothing and lifestyle brands helping men dress sharp in the digital age. He has published hundreds of articles on style and apparel, and regularly interviews small business CEOs and startup founders about industry trends. Jake has written about entrepreneurship, international business and fashion for outlets including Business Week, Forbes, Inc., Details Style Syndicate and Primer Magazine.
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