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In advance of Mother's Day, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is expanding the availability of its Empowering Women Together products that support small women-owned businesses worldwide. In addition to their current online platform, the products will now be at more than 2,600 stores across the United States.
Empowering Women Together is part of the mega-retailer’s larger commitment to increase sourcing from women-owned businesses. Among the program's other goals are sourcing $20 billion from women-owned businesses for its U.S. business and double sourcing from female suppliers for international markets.
"Empowering Women Together began as an online platform one year ago, and this spring we are bringing select products in-store," noted MiKaela Wardlaw Lemmon, senior director of women's economic empowerment at Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart. "By offering these products in-store, several small women-owned businesses will now have access to more than an estimated 100 million shoppers. … Mother's Day is a time to celebrate the special women in our lives. This Mother’s Day assortment allows our customers to give gifts that will not only wow Mom, but uplift women around the world."
Collaboration With Full Circle Exchange
Walmart and social enterprise brand Full Circle Exchange have identified five suppliers: Caribbean Craft, Fidenzo Designs, Nirmal, Soreh Designs and women refugees employed at Full Circle's facility in Boise, Idaho. As part of Empowering Women Together, these small women-owned businesses from the Unites States, Peru, Haiti and India are being introduced to the wide audience of Walmart customers. The almost 50 products hitting stores this week include scarves, aprons, mugs, chocolate gift sets and greeting cards.
"At Full Circle Exchange, we strive to empower women and communities with job creation, improved incomes, access to global markets, job skills and education," said Mark Priddy, the company's co-founder and CEO. "As a result [of the partnership with Walmart], we expect to see positive impacts on the women and communities where these products are made. Walmart has created new opportunities for these women-owned businesses that would have otherwise not been possible."
Part of Walmart's overall Global Women's Economic Initiative, Empowering Women Together originally launched online in March 2013 with 19 suppliers from nine countries offering more than 200 items. It has since grown to more than 30 suppliers in 11 countries with more than 350 products.
Walmart operates 11,302 stores under 71 banners in 27 countries, and e-commerce websites in 10 countries, employing more than 2 million associates around the world.