Aruna Project brings freedom to enslaved women, and MLA is proud to help. Founded by Ryan and April Berg, Aruna is an impact-driven athleisure brand bringing and sustaining freedom to sex trafficking victims through employment marked by holistic care.
Through Aruna’s products and events, women the world over can bring lifelong freedom to victims of human trafficking while celebrating freedom in their own adventure.
“Aruna” means “bright morning sun” in Hindi. Becoming part of Aruna is the dawning of a bright new day for the women they free. They accomplish this mission by combining a US non-profit with Indian for-profit and non-profit entities. 70 women are now earning a living wage from Aruna having been freed from sex trafficking.
The COVID-19 pandemic presented multiple challenges to Ryan and the management team at Aruna Project. First, their production facilities in India were closed, disrupting the supply of goods available to their US customers. Second, they had to cancel the events that were a source of funding and exposure and focus more on online advertising.
Ryan reached out to MLA for help. After a conversation with MLA Principal, Gary Wilkins, MLA agreed to help Aruna Project evaluate its product cost structure. MLA was excited to work with Ryan and Aruna Project because of their fit with MLA’s Business Redeemed approach. And, because Aruna Project is a non-profit, MLA agreed to do the initial work pro-bono. (To read the full story, click here.)
Gary introduced Ryan to Bob Lynch, a product costing specialist on the MLA team. After some analysis, Bob determined that Aruna Projects’ costing model was good. “It was a weight off my shoulders to know that we weren’t missing something obvious,” Ryan said after talking to Bob.
Next, Gary introduced Ryan to Ken Colvin, an inventory and voice of the customer expert on the MLA team. Ken worked with Ryan to discuss how Aruna Project could better predict demand and direct its limited production capability to the highest demand products.
The conversation with Ken helped Ryan think about Aruna Projects’ connection between their customers, and the artisans who make their products. “We have started thinking about our products in terms of the days of freedom they create,” Ryan commented. “We want our customers to know their purchases are changing lives.”
MLA was able to help Ryan and Aruna Project manage the short-term crisis of COVID-19, and build toward the future. This experience prompted Ryan to engage MLA to help them coordinate their financial reporting between their Indian and US organizations.