The Lavender Project Attains Self-Sufficiency in 2016

After 11 years of planning and striving, The Lavender Project is completely self-sufficient. St. Anthony’s Alliance founders, Jim Tryon and Tes Balcomb, attended a ceremony on the village of La  Colorada  to celebrate the event. St. Anthony’s Alliance envisioned the project as a way to help the village by “teaching them to fish,” as it were, but by growing lavender and selling the products.

Financially, The Lavender Project has grown beyond anyone’s expectation, showing a 257 percent increase in sales and revenue in the past year. The project earned almost 2 million pesos, approximately $113,000 USD at current exchange rates. Month to month, The Lavender Project is showing a profit of 20,000 pesos, or almost $2,000 USD, which is a huge achievement. This success was brought about by several factors, including dedicated business mentorship, steady leadership and increased sales and production. Leaders include entrepreneur and president Aucencio Domenzain, general manager Efrain Briones Piñon, and farming manager Alejandro Torres. These leaders have had to learn everything from business accounting, budgeting, grant writing, marketing — and, of course, farming lavender and making soap.

Sales have skyrocketed and production is keeping pace. The storage rooms are packed with inventory. The production crew has new packaging, which hold exactly 100 soaps for their hotel customers. They have also developed an embroidered gift bag that contains several products, including soaps, bath salts, a tube of natural aromatherapy oil and a jar of lavender honey. (Unfortunately, products are not yet for sale outside of Mexico.)

Production is supported by an increased workforce, including six new local ladies to make soap and six new farmers taking care of the fields. Currently, The Lavender Project has 33 employees, many who are the children and grandchildren of some of the original eight farmers. Acreage has been expanded with a new field devoted to English lavender and grosso. A worm farm creates a rich natural fertilizer and sand from a nearby river provides better growing conditions for the lavender.

And importantly, St. Anthony’s Alliance and The Lavender Project have reached a governing agreement for the next decade, which will provide stability, guidance and oversight.

This success is a blessing for everyone.  They are enjoying a successful venture and a steady income. There will be challenges in the future but now everyone has the confidence they can overcome anything.

 

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