Today's Good News Blog post is a guest post from our friend and giveaway partner, Alexandra of Sarjesa Inc.
Alexandra is the owner and founder of Sarjesa, working mostly behind the scenes on the operational and social impact pieces. She is an experienced activist and community organizer focused on social enterprise and community development spaces. She has completed the ASHOKA - AMERICAN EXPRESS bootcamp for emerging leaders, and has been the recipient of numerous awards - speaking at conferences and facilitating workshops across North America. Graduating as the valedictorian of her class, Alexandra is focused on creating more equitable and safe spaces for marginalized women across communities.
Working with Elders and community members on blend and packaging, Sarjesa's goal is to create highly respectful products with a variety of social and environmental impacts.
Without further ado, let's hear from Alexandra:
When I first started the tea company, there were so many things I didn’t know.
Now, as the owner of an operational “startup” there is still so much that I don’t know. Learning my way into social impact, and into entrepreneurship, is the most uphill, rewarding journey I could have undertaken. Most moments, I’m really glad that I started.
Sarjesa is a socially-focused tea company, raising awareness for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls while supporting local violence prevention programming for women in crisis. It started out as a passion project from one of my university classes, where we were challenged to bring resistance into our everyday lives. As someone who has lived experience of domestic violence, this work necessitated that I open up about some of the most terrifying moments in my life - justifying my own positionality in the process.
It’s pretty incredible how sharing the scary has made me less afraid. When you open up about what’s painful, you leave less room for painful exposure. You get to be the one to tell your own story, and take ownership over it. Not only has Sarjesa empowered me to be my own narrator, it has also allowed me to take action to reshape the reality around me.
I’ve also had the immense privilege of hearing and holding space for the stories of others - acting as a witness to their tremendous strength and resiliency. To me, that is such a fundamental part of living an equitable and purposeful life.
The reality is that when someone flees domestic violence, not only are they forced to redisclose their stories over and over again - it’s like they are taking the first steps of a very long marathon. Each step, each task to complete, each worry, each painful conversation draws from someone’s emotional bank account. Once spent, that energy can create an overwhelming feeling of exhaustion. How can you even make yourself take one more step forward? In moments like this, a helping hand or a small reminder that you can do it might be the only thing standing in between giving up (returning to your partner without intervention or proper supports) and staying the course to create positive change.
The tea started as a way to empower others to make change through the small purchases in their lives. In my life, it has always been the little things that have made the biggest impact. Sarjesa started as a way to empower others to make change through small purchases in their lives, with $2 from every box going towards domestic violence prevention programs in our home city of Calgary. Oftentimes, the shelters running these programs struggle to gather adequate funding to cover the basic costs of living for the women in their care. Our donations assist these organizations to cover the costs of the basic necessities, while also allowing them to supply some of the ‘extras’ that are often the first things cut when the budget gets tight.
The reality is that it’s getting increasingly difficult to recognize how deep a product’s social impact actually goes - what simply separates good business practices from social enterprise. We are excited to work with Good Stuff, as we love brands that seek to take social impact further. Our hope is that more products will continue to work towards maximizing ALL of the social impacts they might have.
Thank you so much to Alexandra for this guest post, and for partnering with us on our recent Instagram giveaway. Check out their website here to find out more, and stay tuned to future Good Stuff Box reveals... you just might find some of Sarjesa's fabulous teas in a Good Stuff Box near you.