Celebrating 5 Years! Lessons Learned…

In reflecting on the last five years, we spoke about some of the things we have learned.

Some of our lessons learned include (in the order as they come to mind):

    1. the women who work with us will rise to the occasion of opportunity, taking the opportunities given to them farther than many, including myself, would have expected;
    2. we have steady customers! :)
    3. most people think our cats are cute even if they don’t move much in the summer;
    4. the cost of living here in Turkey has gone up more than a lot of people realize;

  1. to date, no one has asked us if the quality of our ladies’ home lives is better rather than asking us if more of our women are seeking divorce because now they have some economic independence;
  2. the boss still should stay away from sales as she still cuts the prices, which of course is not good for business;
  3. trying to set up a business endeavor without a business partner would have been really dumb;
  4. we really, really lucked out with the teahouse next door, Seytan Suat;
  5. if you want to make a difference, if you want to bring about positive change to your target audience, you need to be on the ground, you need to have the respect and trust of the local population and you had best speak the local language, literally and metaphorically;
  6. sometimes people talk without saying anything and you have to let that be okay as it is important for them to communicate in a manner that they are familiar with;
  7. a lot of men really are on your side even if they don’t really get it;
  8. even if it really makes sense to have some advisors/consultants, it takes a really long time to find the perfect people to complete your team;
  9. good friends and loyal customers will offer to help out with a rush order;
  10. one has to compromise to get ahead;
  11. hammering bottle caps is an excellent release, even if the upstairs neighbor may not agree;
  12. it really isn’t about efficiency but you have to keep a competitive edge;
  13. that raising awareness about individual responsibility to the environment is much more difficult than offering opportunities to women to feel stronger, be braver;
  14. that fair trade isn’t always fair;
  15. some people need to be believed in for years before they start to believe in themselves;
  16. we have a lot of fun and hope to have a few more five-year milestones;

We’ve made it this far. We are grateful for all those who support us, who believe in us, who send us trash even though they’ve never met us, and for the cross-breeze in our workshop in the summer. Happy anniversary to us!

Another celebration in the life of the garbage ladies.