Cherie Amie is an American lingerie company that wants to do more than help women feel sexy.
Founded by Tara Smith, a former Peace Corps volunteer, the company manufactures its products in Cameroon under a fairtrade system of good wages and healthy work practices. 100% of its profits will then be re-invested in micro-loans for women and development projects across sub-Saharan Africa.
It’s not a not-for-profit operation, however: about 98 percent of borrowers repay their loans every year, assuring that virtually all of the profits return to the investors after they’ve helped women entrepreneurs get their start.
That is, if investors help Cherie Amie get its start. The company is currently crowdfunding its start-up costs on indiegogo, asking for $15,000 by the end of August. (They have $2,670 so far, with 33 days to go.)
Cherie Amie has posted a provocative teaser video (see it after the break) and their funding levels have names like “flirt” and “friends with benefits” — with incentives ranging from personalized “thank you” videos to boudoir photography sessions. It’s all very sexualized, which certainly gets our attention. But one can’t help but wonder if this kind of western objectification is the best way to support the empowerment of women in the developing world.
Let us know what you think, in the comments below.