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Inspired by People: Carly of Tribe Alive

Empowering women around the world to find financial freedom through safe and meaningful employment at living wages is at the core of Tribe Alive. Their model, putting impact over profits,...

Empowering women around the world to find financial freedom through safe and meaningful employment at living wages is at the core of Tribe Alive.

Their model, putting impact over profits, is moving the fashion industry toward a more humane approach, where the Earth and the maker are valued equally to the customer.


Today, Tribe Alive works with women artisans in Guatemala, Honduras, Haiti, India and the United States. We asked Carly about the idea behind Tribe Alive, her trips and her work with the women artisans they support.


How did the idea and name of Tribe Alive come about?

The idea for Tribe Alive took root when my husband and I finalized the adoption of our daughter, Elie. As we spent time in Ethiopia, we met many mothers who did not have the means to support their children. I wanted to find a way to honor Elie’s birth mother and others like her while addressing the core issue of global child relinquishment — namely, the economic insecurity facing women in the developing world. Creating Tribe Alive has enabled us to empower women to support themselves and their families. 

If you could describe Tribe in a few words, how would you describe it?

A lifestyle brand focused on ethical production. We aim to honor the earth and the maker equally to the consumer.

How many women artisan groups does Tribe Alive work with?


Could you share with us how you develop lasting, beneficial relationships with the women artisans you work with? What is the most important thing to remember while developing these relationships?

I spend a great deal of time working alongside our artisan non-profit partners and sit on the board of directors for two of them. I love running my company, but if I’m honest my real passion is working on the ground with these organizations in developing countries to evaluate how to address poverty from a grass roots level.



Understanding a fair or living wage can be difficult across the world, could you explain your process of ensuring the artisans Tribe Alive works with are paid a living wage?

In countries where we operate, a living wage is 2 to 3 times more than the minimum wage. A living wage means our employees can pay for housing and food, childcare and health care. It means our artisans can support themselves and their families. A living wage means dignity and opportunity.

What has been your most satisfying moment with Tribe Alive?

We recently provided one of our artisans with a micro-finance loan so that she could grow her business with more equipment and employees. She was thrilled to be able to support and empower other women in her community and increase her production.

How often do you get to travel to the countries where Tribe Alive products are made?

I try to visit each country once or twice a year.

What has been one of your most memorable experiences from these travels?

Attending an artisan’s family member’s wedding was an experience that was deeply meaningful to me. One of our artisan partners made us traditional saris to wear and the experience was magical.  

What piece of advice would you give to people who want to become entrepreneurs in the sustainable fashion industry?

There are many times that you will run into unforeseen obstacles but it is so imperative to remember your initial vision and purpose and stick with it. Keep the big picture first and foremost as it will motivate your “why”.


How do you describe the Tribe Alive style? And what is the best occasion to wear it?

Modern, clean lines, effortless wardrobe essentials. We want our customers to feel like purchasing our pieces is an investment and hope they feel chic and beautiful wearing them from work to play.

What is your favorite Tribe Alive product?

The Everyday Set

What is your favorite book? Or What book about sustainable businesses has inspired you the most?

My favorite author is Toni Morrison so anything by her is inspiring. 


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