Monday Morning Coffee With Under the Zigba Tree


Monday Morning Coffee

Jewelry for a Purpose

What’s in a name? A lot, especially if it means helping women and children who are abused, homeless or victims of human trafficking around the world – as well as those who need educational resources or who are AIDS survivors.

Under the Zibga Tree is a St. Joseph, MO based fair trade boutique offering accessories, jewelry and gift items from global locations. Because each item is fair trade, every sale benefits women and children moving their lives to a new place of hope. Founder Melanie Buford started the initiative after a mission trip to Spain ignited her passion to help victims of human trafficking.

The premise for Under the Zigba Tree is that if women can make and sell fair trade items, they can move forward out of abuse and toward a new start. The name comes from Buford’s observation that Zigba trees are typical community areas or meeting places, and Under the Zigba Tree brings together items from many countries and many hands.

Seeing potential for the business to continue growing, Buford left her position as a teacher and shifted her attention toward this growth. Items for sale at Under the Zigba Tree, located inside Covenant Medical Spa, come from 15 global regions and all are created with no child labor. Additionally, Buford ensures that each item is produced by workers who receive a fair wage.

One unique feature of the business is the monthly box club. For a set fee each month, or a one-time donation, items from Under the Zigba Tree can be delivered to the buyer’s front door by Buford. With purchasing options including website sales and social media, the audience base for the products is growing – and so is the awareness of the need to help women and children globally. On a local community level, organizations have invited Buford to display and sell her items at area events and have even created special events just to benefit Under the Zigba Tree.

So what’s the formula for success? First, be very passionate about a specific cause or product. Know what the product stands for. Invite the community to share in this vision and provide many different opportunities for audience engagement or sales. Continue sharing the story of the product across multiple channels, and keep inviting other businesses in to the figurative “shade” of your business tree.

This week, ask yourself if your company or organization can take hold of an opportunity that’s likely already been growing across your team or in your own business culture. You may be truly surprised and continually inspired by where it takes you.