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JOYNing the overseas market: Ali Lewis ’09

Ali Lewis ’09 works with manufacturer JOYN India to help the impoverished in Asia.

JOYNing the overseas market: Ali Lewis ’09

Ali Lewis ’09 is a marketing specialist in Fayetteville, Ark., but the firm’s manufacturing operations lie at the base of the Himalayas in the northern reaches of India.

JOYNing the overseas market: Ali Lewis ’09

Ali Lewis ’09 works with manufacturer JOYN India to help the impoverished in Asia.

Working for a company with an innovative business plan and serious humanitarian factors is just the kind of job Ali Lewis ’09 wanted when she landed a position with JOYN India, which markets Indian-made scarves, handbags, jewelry and other items in the United States.

Lewis is a marketing specialist in Fayetteville, Ark., but the firm’s manufacturing operations lie at the base of the Himalayas in the northern reaches of India, where poverty hangs heavily on the most of the populace.

One of the specific goals of JOYN India is to give the impoverished an opportunity for economic uplift. “They hand-make the products, and we sell them stateside in boutiques and retail shops,” Lewis says.

JOYN India partners with various cooperatives of needy Indian workers who perform the operational functions of hand-carving materials and hand-weaving cotton goods, block-printing cloth items, sewing and block-printing paper products such as greeting cards and journals.

“These are women who have been battered or abused, both mentally and physically,” Lewis says. “We teach them business acumen and life skills, and pay wages that can support them. This way they become more independent, and people treat them with respect.”

Lewis said she’s also talking to larger retailers including Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club.