STATE OF BENEFIT ethically sourced e-commerce

an early stage ecomm startup by a 50 something woman and her 30 something daughter ethically sourcing products made by women in Pakistan

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Project Description

State of Benefit is ethically sourcing items from Pakistan to ensure women artisans are getting living wages, working in safe environments, while bringing beautifully made jewelry, garments, and housewares into the US market. Purchase with purpose, and beauty.

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Screen Shot 2017-05-30 at 6.34.52 PMI grew up with a mother that never compromised on two things: (1) quality of everything around her and (2) fairness in how people were treated. These values were driven into us in everything we did – including what we wore.

My mother – Musarrat Shah – is my business partner. She is fiercely smart, has an eye for quality, craftsmanship, and style combined with a deep-rooted desire to help women raise themselves out of poverty on their own accord. Her motto is: “Help them succeed so they don’t need you anymore.” So when we were talking about launching an artisan focused e-commerce platform, her philosophy is what gave it life. It’s why she is both our curator and buyer and ultimate supporter of the mission.


  1. Curation over clutter. A clean, easy to shop experience.
  2. Living wages. A commitment to buying items that help female artisans uplift themselves out of poverty.
  3. Sustainability. Many of the items we sourced are made from reclaimed materials and given new life.
  4. Paying it forward.  We will be partnering with organizations that teach trade skills to victims of acid attacks and domestic violence to help bring their items to market.


State of Benefit is an e-commerce platform that brings items direct to consumer from artisans in Pakistan and South Asian women in the United States that are keeping artisanal traditions alive here. We are committed to paying these women living wages for their wares, with low markups to the end user because of our direct to consumer model and low operational costs.

Each item is selected with purpose: how it will look, make you feel, and deeply inspire you to live a beautiful life while knowing that your purchase benefited women business owners and craftspeople. We believe in purchasing with purpose and beauty, benefiting both the customer and the maker.


1. SAFE SPACES.  Help us create a workspace for women in Pakistan to create items for the site, in a safe, clean environment where electricity, running water, and materials are fully available. Many of the women we’ve bought from work by candlelight at night because they don’t have access to generators. We would also provide materials and tools for women artisans (sewing machine, embroidery tools, needles, jewelry making tools).

IMG_57572. INITIAL OPERATING COSTS. Cover operating costs as we get the business off the ground, so we can stay true to our promise of paying fair prices to makers both here and abroad as we commission products. This includes technology development, storage, shipping infrastructure, and more. Design services for the site are being donated by amazing friends!

3. MARKETING. Cover marketing costs to help create a strong, targeted consumer base that will appreciate the quality and concept of State of Benefit and will be champions for ethically sources products.

We are bootstrapping, funding most of the business on our own. But even with that, we need your help.

It’s been our dream to give back by helping women help themselves. And we’ve started that dream this year!