How Fashion Brand Kate Spade Is Empowering Women in Rwanda

These women are said to earn about 40 percent more than the average wage.

ByABC News
July 23, 2014, 7:14 AM
An expert jewelry maker trains women on Kate Spade signature friendship bracelet.
An expert jewelry maker trains women on Kate Spade signature friendship bracelet.
Courtesy of Kate Spade & Company

— -- One of the most well-known women’s brands in the United States has made it its mission to empower women in Rwanda by allowing them to craft their own fashion line.

“We looked around and found this incredible group of women who had gotten together post-genocide, now over 20 years ago, and looked for a way to start to put their life back together again,” Craig Leavitt, the CEO of Kate Spade & Co., told ABC News’ Bianna Golodryga.

Kate Spade & Co. has brought the women – 150 in total – together to handcraft the products in the brand’s newest line of accessories, On Purpose.

“Working with these women has been such an amazing project, empowering them to stand on their own two feet and produce these amazing pieces for us,” Kate Spade chief creative officer Deborah Lloyd said.

The women, all from Masoro, Rwanda, are paid a monthly salary to craft the products, available in Kate Spade New York, Kate Spade Saturday and Jack Spade stores and online at

With the money that the women make – about 40 percent higher than the average wage is Rwanda, according to Leavitt – they are each able to financially support their own families and send their children to school.

“It's been so rewarding and you see it in them,” Lloyd said. “You see it in their faces you see it in their demeanor.”

Kate Spade & Co. officials say the next “On Purpose” collection will be available next month in stores and online.

Click HERE to read more about “On Purpose.”