Category: the store

Kiva Fellows letter of intent

To further my knowledge and understanding of microcredit, I am applying to be a Kiva Fellow for the fall semester.  Below is the letter of inent I wrote in my application.  I’m very excited to hear from them!

Microfinance fascinates me.  With all of the undergraduate research I have done on international development, microcredit stands out as one of the most effective forms of development.  While more traditional development has led to increased dependency on the West and has largely been counterproductive, microlending has created lasting effects among the world’s poor.  I first decided to do more research on the concept after reading Muhammad Yunus’s “Banker to the Poor.”  I was moved by the story of his first loan: Sufiya Begum, a Bangladeshi woman, was confined to a life of poverty for a lack of twenty-two cents.  After reading the book, I learned how microcredit has increased women’s empowerment, decreased hunger and poverty and given people hope who had none.Driven to find out more, I made microcredit and fair trade the topic of my senior thesis.  Through my research, I have learned about additional positive effects of microcredit.  Microfinance institutions give more than just credit: they provide training, insurance and savings programs for their borrowers.  The participants are given an opportunity to develop skills such as product development and marketing which can lead to the creation of better products, and therefore, a higher income potential.  The social effects of group lending programs are astounding.  When a community works together, they are all the more successful.

Last September, I created an internship for a fair-trade store in Raleigh, NC called Beleza.  I saw that the store needed help and wanted the chance to utilize my business knowledge in an area that I am deeply passionate about.  I recruited additional interns and we have improved the store’s website and created a store on eBay to facilitate the sale of products online.  I envision a synergistic link between fair trade and microfinance.

With all of the research I have done this semester on microcredit, I desire the chance to be a part of the financial revolution that has swept the world.  I crave the opportunity for an extended stay in a developing nation; my experiences in developing economies thus far have made a major impact on my life.  International development has been historically plagued by paternalistic “development interventions.”  I strive to be a servant leader.  The idea behind servant leadership is that a leader must place the needs of his or her team before addressing any personal needs.  Furthermore, the leader must recognize the inherent value of team collaboration and should not think that he or she has the best ideas.  I am prepared to extend my leadership skills to those in the community without being paternalistic.

I have permission from my University to take a one semester leave in order that I may serve as a Kiva Fellow.  Though I have not graduated, I have earned 155 credits and would benefit from the opportunity to be a Fellow before graduating.  A fellowship with Kiva would be a valuable contribution towards my undergraduate career and would prepare me for future work in the field of international development.


our eBay store

Today’s the official day!  Check out our fair trade store on eBay!

Beleza on eBay

Beleza on eBay

beleza in the news

We made it to the Technician, NC State’s Student Newspaper!  Check out the story:

Local Shop Founded on Fair Trade Philosophy

Beleza specials at the party

This just in!!! Beleza specials on Saturday:

10-2 PM: E V E R Y T H I N G in the store 20%-50% off!

2-4 PM: Lucky prize! Draw a prize from a jar – discounts for 20% off, 50% off and FREE products!

Click here to RSVP to the event on Facebook:

major milestone!

Our pagerank for increased from a 3 to a 4!!!  This is huge!  Thanks to all of the other interns for their help over the past several months.

page rank

We are one step closer on the path to universal recognition!

Todays Mantra: E-Bay

Take a breath. Inhale. Exhale.    E.    Bay.    E.    Bay.    Concentrate all your energy on listing items and providing a visually balanced storefront for your customers. Now focus on your goals for the next couple weeks. Try not to overwhelm yourself. Feel the excitement from the upcoming item photo shoot enter your heightened consciousness. Now list more items. Don’t forget your other mantra. Fair trade store.   Fair.   Trade.   Store. We want Beleza to flourish in the online atmosphere and continue to build its reputation as a Fair.   Trade.   Store.

Click your heels three times and…


Think fair trade store, Fair TrAde StoRE, FAIR TRADE STORE!!!  *poof* You now find yourself in the mystical, wonderful world of Beleza. You can find a scarf to go with those smashing ruby pumps and strut down the yellow brick road like it was made of 14 karat gold. Well, perhaps someday… For now we’re trying to make Beleza synonymous with the phrase “fair trade store” in the minds of shoppers and in the computerized brains of search engines everywhere. It’s a BIG and ambitious move, we know, but I think we can do it!

Today, I honed down the schedule for eBay.  It’s going to take about a month to get it all rolling.  Pretty exciting work!  While eBay is going to drive more business online, we also want to get more people in the store.  Because – let’s face it – once you go in our fair trade store, you can’t leave without buying something.  We’re writing another proposal for Groupon.  If you’ve never heard of it, you should check out their website and maybe even sign up.  Groupon is a revolutionary way to attract customers by sending an offer to by a coupon.  The offer is only good for one day and Groupon writes fantastic business reviews to bring people on board.  Their business model is different from traditional advertisers; they don’t charge any up-front costs.

PDail is in Haiti right now, leading a relief trip.  We are still collecting shoes at Beleza to be sent with the Red Cross.



Today I finished putting “invisible” links the Beleza fair trade store website.  They’re called invisible links because no one can see or tell that the links are there, but Google will pick up on the links. We also gained a new intern, Tomer Shvueli. He’s studying computer science and seems like he’ll be a huge help to us. Today, he began creating new links to the fair trade store artists.