In 2012, Steve and Sandy Jacoby moved to Nicaragua to try to help in one of the poorest countries in Latin America. They formed a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization, Sheep Not Goats, and built a farm in a small town in order to provide work withing the community.
After having their first grandchild in 2017, Sandy began knitting in earnest and got the idea to teach women in Nicaragua to make them as well.
There are currently about 20 women who knit 5 days a week in the Jacobys’ home in Malpaisillo. They have become experienced knitters. Almost all are young mothers with no other means of support. They receive desperately needed income to be able to feed their families during very tough economic times.
Sheep Dreamzzz blankets are handmade by a group of women who knit together 5 days for a week. They have produced many blankets and have become highly skilled.
They work in a home, not in a factory in China. They have comfortable seating, listen to music, and work as a team to ensure that our high standards of quality are met and that as many as possible finish a blanket each week.
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Questions and Answers
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 are covered, we are happy to ship anywhere. Please contact us if you want us to look into a specific situation.
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!
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 so much that there was not enough profit left to share with a retailer (one Fair Trade retailer wanted to pay only 20-40% of final retail price!). But alas, we need the retail channel so have had to make some adjustments to address the retail channel, but still pay the women much more for online and face-to-face sales.
We plan to apply for Fair Trade Federation certification, but it costs money to do so, both up-front and annually, 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.
Do You Make Custom Blankets?
See this page