TO OUR GLOBAL MAMAS COMMUNITY:
First off, we want to check-in. How are you doing? We hope you are hanging in there. This is an unprecedented time for us all and we are all doing our best to navigate the changes each day. Please know we’re sending our love, and are here by phone/email/messenger if you need a friendly voice. We’re grateful for your continued support as we face this new challenge together.
UPDATE FROM OUR TEAM IN GHANA
At this time our top priority is mitigating the impact of the virus on our community’s health-- both physically and financially.
• As of March 17th, Ghana has 7 confirmed cases of COVID-19, all from recently arrived travelers. We will continue educating and preparing for how potential spread will impact the health and well-being of our community.
• Every office location and Mama has been educated on COVID-19, including how to keep themselves safe and how to prevent spread. Office locations have been provided with extra cleaning supplies to support heightened hygiene measures.
• Should we begin to see community spread in Ghana, offices will be closed and employees will be encouraged to stay home and practice social distancing.
• Our US office is taking extra precautions to ensure that our work space only has one employee present at a time. All touch points are cleaned thoroughly between shifts.
• Each Global Mamas location has reviewed their expenses and committed to eliminating all non-essential costs.
• All travel plans have been cancelled organization-wide.
• As production declines we will be fundraising in order to pay a stipend to Mamas who own their own businesses to help them cover basic needs. We will make interest free loans available as we are able.
MITIGATING FINANCIAL IMPACT
As transparency is an integral aspect of our business we want to be open about how COVID-19 is affecting our financial well-being, and the part our current Facebook fundraiser will play in providing a stopgap to the Mamas during this difficult time. Contributing factors to our current situation include but are not limited to:
• A Ghana government travel ban on short term travelers. With decreased foot traffic, sales at our two brick and mortar stores in Ghana are already suffering.
• Cancellation of our volunteer and internship program for the foreseeable future. This is a huge loss for the capacity building programs we offer the Mamas-- both in terms of the financial and intellectual support volunteers and interns provide.
• Trade show cancellations and temporary store closures in Europe have resulted in a significant drop in EU sales.
• Retail partners in the US are facing state-mandated closures. This means we’re braced for reduced orders from North American customers in coming months.
• During the 2014-2016 Ebola Epidemic we borrowed money to finance operations to prevent losses to the Mamas. As we are still repaying this debt we are unable to borrow additional funds without putting the future of Global Mamas at risk.
Our 76 person employee team (producers, quality control staff, production managers, Ghana store staff, US wholesale office staff, etc.) have committed in solidarity to a pay cut to help share the burden of the financial losses. We will have tiered pay cuts (a higher percent cut for higher pay), and will graduate the pay cuts as needed starting out with a small reduction and increasing over time if orders don't resume. Many of the Mamas are independent business owners and rely on global demand for their products, which is dramatically lower for the time being. To ensure that the Mamas are able to continue covering the needs of their families, we aim to pay monthly stipends for as long as we are able. When we factor in these stipends, and continuing to pay our staff at a reduced rate for several months, we are looking at ending the year with a loss of $60,885-- even after factoring in some recovery of sales throughout the year.
If you have the financial capacity to donate to our Facebook fundraiser we'd be grateful- though we're conscious that with widespread layoffs and current upheaval, this might not be possible. Other ways you can show your support are by shopping at a retailer near you carrying our product, or by following our updates on social media (@global_mamas) and sharing the love with likes and encouraging comments. Thank you for facing this challenge alongside us! We're willing good health for you and yours and encourage everyone to take all due precautions to look after themselves.