Kelowna couple moves to India, launches social enterprise selling socks

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Kelowna couple moves to India, launches social enterprise, selling socks
Kelowna couple moves to India, launches social enterprise, selling socks – Jun 15, 2016
KELOWNA – Socks are at the heart of a social enterprise started by an Okanagan couple.

“We employ around 40 to 50 ladies right now in northern India who are hand-making every single sock and we donate half of our profits to a charity that cares for orphaned kids in India,” said Fazl Socks co-founder Mike Gunn.

The couple donates half of the profits to Child of Mine, an organization which is based out of Kelowna.

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“They help provide all of the funding to make sure the kids have food, shelter, education, clothing and one of the coolest things is they ensure there is an opportunity to go to university if they desire,” said Fazl Socks co-founder Vanessa Tse.

It was back in 2008 that Gunn and Tse met while on a volunteer trip in India with Child of Mine. Three years later, they got married, and last fall, they made the move to Himachal Pradesh in northern India, where the Fazl Socks are made.

“We’ve always had the goal to move to India even when we were dating we knew,” said Gunn.

As for why they sell socks, the couple says they’re a staple item in their rural village in northern India.

“Everyone [there] wears these socks and they already make them and we [thought], why don’t we provide these ladies with fair wages, we’ll bring the socks back to Canada and we’ll sell them,” said Tse.

Now the couple, back in Kelowna for a few weeks, is busily working on expanding their social enterprise, which just launched this spring.

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“Fifty per cent of all profits from Fazl Socks go to the two children’s homes and the other half of it go back into the company: buying wool, paying the ladies, that kind of thing,” said Gunn.

It’s all with one goal in mind: improving the lives of orphaned children.

“[Many of them] are just scraping by, they can’t even eat, hardly, just rice. So, whether we like it or not or how we feel, it’s actually about what needs to be done,” said Gunn.

Click here to learn more about Fazl Socks.

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