Our Purpose: To bring hope and a future to women rescued from human-trafficking.
The Skipping Stone is a missional company that sells ethically handcrafted goods from artisans/cooperatives in India. The ‘Jubilee Line’ are pieces made directly by women rescued from human-trafficking, through our partner ministry – Aatma Vikas (Hindi for Self Progress). Proceeds of the company support women and children initiatives in central and northern India.
Investment Target: $165K
Growth Finance Needed: 10-year debt note paid at maturity, 2.5% interest annually, revolving
To date, The Skipping Stone has:
Trained 1,600 individuals in a vocational trade through Partner Ministry
Rescued & employed 35 women
Given 20% of all proceeds to rehabilitation & skills training of rescued women
In 2015, The Skipping Stone became a registered entity in the US and is wholly owned by Greg Matney, Abhineeta Matney and Matt Voss. The Skipping Stone began as a ministry partner of Vikas Mission, which has worked with the brothel community since 2014. The Skipping Stone initially trained 65 Vikas Mission women with skill sets in sewing, stitching, jewelry making and embroidery in two locations – within the brothel and offsite for women who were fully rescued.
The Skipping Stone’s corporate mission is to “provide quality products and excellent customer service, that enables dignity for the vulnerable.”
In 2016, The Skipping Stone began to engage vulnerable women who lost their jobs at a tea plantation, and were therefore at risk of sex trafficking. The company currently places and trains at risk women into jobs through partner companies. However, Skipping Stone has directly employed 35 women to date and would like to move towards direct-employment in the future. They believe that once 200 women are directly hired, Skipping Stone will be able to achieve large-scale employment through a cooperative model, in which the women assume ownership of their groups and can recruit more women.
The company’s business model is to connect socially aware consumers in the US, who are increasingly concerned with how their purchases are sourced and produced, with goods manufactured by women freed from sex trafficking. The Skipping Stone utilizes three primary sales strategies to make this connection: a) an e-commerce platform; b) a retail platform through mission aligned wholesalers; and c) an event strategy – particularly focused on church conferences.
The Skipping Stone currently partners with local NGO Aatma Vikas, founded by The SKipping Stone leadership. Aatma Vikas introduces sex-trafficked women to The Skipping Stone, who in turn has commit to giving 20% of profits annually back to Aatma Vikas.
Greg has five years of experience working with Partners Worldwide, a business as mission organization, as the facilitator of the Asia Region. Greg worked in Kenya, the US and India during his time with Partners Worldwide. Greg graduated Magna Cum … Read More
Abhineeta held various leadership positions in both the business and church sector prior to establishing Aatma Vikas. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Taylor University with degrees in International Relations and Psychology, and was in the top 1% of her … Read More
Matt brings seven years of experience in retail and wholesale services to The Skipping Stone and has been working and promoting Business as Mission for eight years. He has traveled to over 30 nations, including recently completing a graduate studies … Read More
Customer: The Skipping Stone’s core customers are overwhelmingly women in both the physical (65%) and digital spaces (80%).
Products: The Skipping Stone’s product mix currently consists of bags, scarves, leather journals and jewelry. Jewelry continues to be their highest grossing product to date, making up 45% of their total revenue across the last two years of operations. However, they feel that this is likely to decrease as they focus more on bags and journals and introduce tea and pottery into the product mix.
Distribution: The company is focused on developing its e-commerce and retail sales channels as an immediate next step through this investment round.
E-commerce: The Skipping Stone hired a consultant to help develop the company website and build an e-commerce strategy. The Skipping Stone’s first major push will be to launch Amazon sales. Additionally, they will focus on a new website and social media campaign.
Retail: The Skipping Stone expects that their premium products and high-margin pricing strategy will provide retail stores with the margins they need to receive the products in stores, something that most freedom wholesale businesses are not able to do.
Pricing: The Skipping Stone sets its price point in the mid-high end range, expecting that the high quality, design-centered products, along with compelling social impact, will make the prices attractive to customers.
Ownership: The Skipping Stone is a registered entity in the US and is wholly owned by Greg Matney, Abhineeta Matney and Matt Voss. It is in the process of becoming an independent entity in India as well, primarily training women and manufacturing inventory for sale in the US by the US entity.
Revenue: In 2016, the India company generated total revenue from operations of $4,406, with largest part of their expenditures used to pay the artisan women. The US entity shows 2016 turnover from operations of $64,653, with indications that profits have grown over the last two years. The company has also donated 15% of their profits each year in alignment with their mission target.
Projections: Online sales are expected to increase from 5% to 35% of total revenue by 2018, and retail sales are expected to increase from 20% to 30% in the same time period. The India company expects to ramp up sales from operations to $148K by 2018 and $348K by 2019. They expect to be completely independent of charitable donations by 2022.
The Skipping Stone will be using this round of investments to develop their sales channels and expand their market. Specifically, they would like to develop their online presence and see the percentage of their sales coming from online retail increase from 5% to 35% in the next two years. As such, they would immediately invest heavily in digital marketing, including a social media campaign, a new website, and launching Amazon sales. They would also like to develop their retail division to become a solid player in retail and fashion trade shows and to develop their distribution network.