“They are our family. We will help them to rebuild their lives, homes, and their businesses but it will take time.”

This is an excerpt from one of Ganesh Himal Trading’s most recent email newsletters, sent after the Nepal Earthquake hit on April 25th.

While a natural disaster like this attracts attention on a global scale, Denise Attwood and her team at Ganesh Himal Trading have been dedicated to improving the lives of marginalized women and Tibetan refugees since 1984.

An original member of the Fair Trade Federation, Ganesh Himal Trading imports handmade Nepalese products — such as clothing, jewelry, textiles, and paper — to almost 300 shops and retail outlets throughout North America.

But their mission and potential for impact has never been more important than now, as they work to raise funds and relief for Nepal.

Since the earthquake struck, Denise and her team have been working tirelessly to receive updates on conditions, get the word out to their audience, and inspire others to get involved and make a donation.

They’ve created earthquake relief webpages, posted updates on social media, and sent out fundraising emails to communicate with their audience and drive action.

As a result, they’ve been able to raise over $50,000 to help rebuild Nepal.

“We’re small, but we’re mighty,” Denise says. “We make a lot of impact because of the long-standing relationships we’ve developed.”

These long-standing relationships have been developed as a result of Ganesh Himal Trading’s commitment to keeping their audience informed, and creating a community both online and off.

Each month, they send out an email update that provides information on the products and the artisans who make them.

Here’s an example of a newsletter from last fall, where Ganesh Himal Trading sent out a booklet that details the personal impact behind some of the top selling products.

Ganesh Himal Constant COntact newsletter

“If people didn’t have that information, our imports become just another product,” Denise explains.  “And we’re so much more than just a product. It’s important for us to be able to share that story of where the products come from; how special they really are.”

In addition to their monthly newsletter, Ganesh Himal Trading has a dedicated Facebook Page and Group, and blog where they can share information about the people and products that Denise and her team have firsthand experience with.

It’s the community they’ve created that has become such an important resource in the face of devastation.

“If I had to sum up the most important part of our business in a word, I’d say: relationships,” says marketing director Sarah Calvin. “We have a real commitment to the people we work with.”

Many of the producers Ganesh Himal Trading works with have been involved for over twenty years. “We didn’t want to be the kind of importer who just did one-off things; we wanted to grow with the people we worked with,” Denise explains.

Many of the people affected by the disaster are people she’s met in person and known for years — Denise’s last visit to Nepal was just over a month ago.

Though she could never have predicted how quickly things would have changed since her last visit, Denise is grateful her efforts can make a difference.

Here’s a look at the most recent email campaign Ganesh Himal sent out:

Ganesh Himal Constant Contact email newsletter

In some ways, supporting the people of Nepal is nothing new to the team at Ganesh Himal Trading — but it’s their long-standing dedication to their producers and vendors that has enabled them to make an impact.

Above all, their belief in the people of Nepal is unrelenting and action-provoking. Here’s one last excerpt from a recent email update:

“One thing we do know is that Nepali’s have lived with adversity all their lives and they are strong and resilient people and will work together to get through this. But they will need our help and support to go forward.”

If you’d like to add to Ganesh Himal Trading’s efforts and make a donation, visit their Earthquake Relief page for more information. All proceeds will go directly to helping the people in Nepal and are tax deductible. 

May 4-8th is National Small Business Week here in the US. To celebrate, we are sharing the stories of small businesses and asking business owners to share their best business advice. You can find all of the latest stories and advice here.