Alice Grau Red-Hot Mama

Alice Grau Red-Hot Mama

As the creative director of Global Mamas, Alice Grau, right in photo, has learned to do business in a fair-trade spirit. Part of her education and evolution has been learning how to do the hands-on labor of making beads or batiking.

Courtesy of Handmade Business

Creative director Alice Grau is not your grandmother or mother's idea of a company bigwig. Talented, driven, and articulately committed to finding and bringing ''social justice to the world,'' Grau is in the enviable position of actually being able to make her inner wishes come true.

Everyone from Miss America contestants to the elected president of America pays lip service to wanting to make a difference. Grau, however, has figured out a way to do so, courtesy of her involvement with Global Mamas.

Educated at Central Michigan University, the 31-year-old has been a part of Global Mamas for six years now--five years as an employee and one year as a design volunteer. She'll be kicking off her seventh year in 2015, and she has enjoyed her tenure there in an array of different positions. Along the way, she's exceled at being a general manager, a design and marketing manager, and now the creative director. Through it all, she's remained faithful to the idea of service going hand in hand with commerce, and global advancement being paired with universal sales appeal.

''My work includes designing new textiles and new products for our annual collection, designing marketing materials for promoting our organization and its programs, overseeing our design staff and interns, as well as all of the creative materials we produce, and selling our products at trade shows or representing Global Mamas at educational and networking events,'' Grau states.

The Ghana-based workers create jewelry, clothing, accessories, home décor, and other handmade pieces that more than hold their own in the marketplace. Beyond just the umbrella of fair-trade practices, the Global Mama offerings have their own unique sense of style and allure: ''I work hard with our incredible team of designers, volunteers, and producers to make sure that we at Global Mamas stay on trend to compete in the larger market, while still maintaining the high-quality work we are known for.''

Grau feels that one of the components of her role is to ''ensure that the artisanal products are appreciated for all the skill and labor that go into them. My favorite part of this is connecting the consumer and the producer by providing pictures and stories, as well as fair-trade tours to meet the individuals whom we work with in Ghana.''

Coming from a hands-on creative background, Grau can feel empathy for her craftswomen. She grew up making quilts and her own clothing. In school, she was heavily involved in theatrical costuming and custom tailoring. Prior to her involvement with Global Mamas, she was an assistant designer at Sears Holding Corporation, plying her talent in their plus-size women's department.

Having both corporate experience blended with an advocate's consciousness has aided Grau in her ascension and with her global perspective. ''I see my role these days as multifaceted. First, I need to ensure that the producers are paid a living wage and are recognized for their work. To this end, I desire to see more women in Ghana employed so that they can achieve an improved standard of living.''
Print Design Gaur Designed

Grau designed this print that has done well in women's, girls', and home décor categories.

Her associates at Global Mama share her passion for making goods and doing good: ''I strive to continue working with my great team of individuals creating the best collection of products we can every year. We also will continue to work toward that larger goal of seeing fair trade become the way that every production group does business.''

Atop Grau's holiday wish list is one sincere goal. ''I would be so overjoyed if all shoppers eventually become conscious consumers who dig deeper for the stories behind the products that they buy. That would be rewarding and would make all of our hard work so worthwhile,'' she affirms.

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