This 6-minute interview, recorded May 18, 2021, provides a good capsule summary of what Sheep Dreamzzz is all about. Click the image to watch.
About Sheep Dreamzzz
Our blankets are made by a close-knit group of women in a small town in Nicaragua, the poorest country in Latin America. We as a non-profit trained them to knit beautiful handmade baby blankets. They have become true artisans demonstrating consistently excellent quality in their work, and depend on the Sheep Dreamzzz “business” to feed their families.
Knitting 5 Days a Week
Five days a week, the women come to our small farm to work, not to a factory. They actually work in our living room with comfortable seating, listening to music, and working as a team to ensure that high standards of quality are met and that as many as possible finish a blanket each week. Here they are waiting outside the farm gate.
In 2012, Steve and Sandy Jacoby moved from Florida to Nicaragua. They formed a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, Sheep Not Goats, and built a farm in a small town in order to provide work within the community. People in Nicaragua desperately need income to be able to feed their families.
After the birth of their first grandchild in 2017, Sandy began knitting in earnest and got the idea to teach women in Nicaragua to make baby blankets that could be sold in the US, returning all of the profits to the knitters.
Are Sheep Dreamzzz blankets available outside the US?
So far we have only shipped to customers in the US. We looked into adding Canada, but the additional fees that would be owed to the Canadian government would more than double the cost of a blanket, so we decided it really did not make sense. As long as the additional cost of getting a product into another country is covered, we are happy to ship anywhere, and of course we can send to a US friend or relative. Please contact us if you want us to look into a specific situation.
Have the Women Really Been Helped?
Some people think of helping as giving things to people. While we sometimes pay for medical care and we feed a group of senior citizens each week, what works best to change one’s circumstances is the ability to work and provide for one’s family. In this way people also gain dignity, self-determination, and pride (the good kind!). Every woman who knits for us depends on her income from making baby blankets.
Nicaragua is a country with almost no jobs, poor healthcare, and a terrible economy (now made worse by the COVID-19 situation). Our knitters have the steadiest income in town, and we are highly committed to them. We have always paid them as much as possible.
Are You “Fair Trade”?
We believe that we adhere to all 9 principles of the Fair Trade Federation. In fact, we have been a bit too fair to be able to sell through the many retailers who source fair trade items. Why? Because we have paid our knitters too much to allow much sharing with retailers (one “Fair Trade” outfit wanted 60-80% profit margin on anything they would resell – more than what the knitters receive for a week of hard work!).
We are open to applying for Fair Trade Federation certification, but it costs money to do so ($85 plus $250+ per year), so we want to be sure it will result in more sales and thus help more people (again, we believe that we already “walk the walk” in this area). If someone wants to fund this, we will make it happen immediately and your assistance would be a tax-deductible donation.
Why the Sheep?
Sheep Dreamzzz is part of our 501(c)(3) non-profit, which is called Sheep Not Goats. While Sheep Not Goats is not a religious entity, we (its founders) are Christians and chose the name based on the parable of the sheep and goats in Matthew chapter 25, where the “sheep” are those who helped others in need and the “goats” are those who did not. So when we got the idea to train women to make blankets, including sheep made sense to us, especially since Sandy had just knitted a baby blanket with sheep on it for our first grandchild. So for now, everything has sheep on it, but if someone wants no sheep we are happy to oblige!
And by the way, we have nothing against goats!
Do You Make Custom Blankets?
See this page