How one woman is changing the lives of female solopreneurs in Nepal & India

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Adrienne Thakur was born and raised in Kentucky by entrepreneurial parents who owned and ran an antique store.

Which meant she was exposed to a wide variety of unique artifacts from around the world.

This exposure planted a deep desire for adventure in her and when she was older, she embarked on her biggest adventure yet—a trip to Nepal.

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She lived in Khatmandu, experienced the culture, the food, the people.

But what should have been a 3-month trip turned into a 18+ month stay when she met her future husband. She knew in the first 2 hours they were together that they’d be getting married.

As she got to know her mother-in-law, who lived in India and sold hand-made tapestries to local vendors, she was struck with a business idea that would completely change her life and the lives of many women in India and Nepal.

Note: today’s post is all about episode 4 of our new podcast, Freelance to Founder. For more detail and the complete story, you can listen to Adrienne’s episode below (or on iTunes or Pocket Casts.)

Sitting cross-legged on the floor, Adrienne’s mother-in-law made quilts by hand. Adrienne watched her mother-in-law carefully hand-craft these works of art which were then sold to local souvenir shops for pennies.

Adrienne visited the local shops and saw how much they were reselling her mother-in-law’s art for and was very bothered by the whole situation.

She started to tell all the women selling art that they were being swindled.

It was then that she decided her life mission was to help talented women in India and Nepal charge what they deserve for the work they do.

So she started

Not only does Adrienne now buy handmade goods from women in India and Nepal, she ensures they are asking the best price.

She trains them on opportunity cost, value, demand, licensing and more.

This opening sound byte sums up Adrienne’s mission perfectly:

“If you’re being paid 25 cents and you’re doing okay, but you still can’t keep shoes on your kids and you’re not able to pay the baseline tuition for the government school fee so your children aren’t being educated and your art is still being sold for $200 somewhere else…why shouldn’t you be paid 75 cents for it? Because that 75 cents is going to make that difference for you. Maybe you can get clean water. Maybe you can get a system to have heat in your home on the cold days. And it doesn’t really take anything away from the $200 price tag. But if you don’t know to ask, and you don’t know how to ask for 75 cents, you’ll never get it.”

She helps them understand the true value of their work.

In fact, she’ll go as far as asking her vendors “are you sure?” if they quote her an extremely low price.

But with such a unique business, come lots of unique challenges.

Learn how they’re overcoming these challenges and building a business that makes a true difference in the lives of hundreds of artists by listening to this week’s episode of Freelance to Founder.

You can listen to the full episode below:

You can also listen to the entire first season of Freelance to Founder on our website, in iTunes, or through Pocket Casts.

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About Preston D Lee

Preston is an entrepreneur, writer, podcaster, and the founder of this blog. You can contact him via twitter at @prestondlee.

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