Jane Mosbacher Morris is the Founder and CEO of TO THE MARKET, a socially-inspired business connecting ethical producers around the world with consumers and businesses seeking to make a social impact. TO THE MARKET works with large corporations such as Macy’s, Levi’s, Capital One, UBS, Experian, General Mills, and many more.
She previously served as the Director of Humanitarian Action for the McCain Institute for International Leadership, where she managed the Institute’s anti-human trafficking program. She currently serves on the Institute’s Human Trafficking Advisory Council. Prior to joining the Institute, she worked in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Counterterrorism and in the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues. She has traveled, written, and spoken broadly on issues ranging from business and social impact to peace and security.
Her written work has been published on platforms ranging from the National Defense University to Refinery29.com. She is the author of the forthcoming Penguin RandomHouse book, Buy the Change You Want to See: Harnessing Your Purchasing Power for Good. Morris is a member of VF Corporation‘s Advisory Council on Responsible Sourcing. She holds a BS in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and an MBA from Columbia Business School. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and is married to fellow entrepreneur, Nate Morris.
What inspired you to start TO THE MARKET?
I was inspired to start TO THE MARKET after learning about the untapped production capacity in the artisan industry. It’s the second largest economy in the developing world, behind agriculture, but is largely disconnected from the supply chains of traditional retailers and corporations. The seed was really planted that we could provide ethically-made goods to consumers and businesses looking for social-impact products when I was on a trip with The McCain Institute and International Justice Mission to India with my then-boss Mrs. Cindy McCain. We visited to bag and home good producers employing vulnerable women, changing lives and generating beautiful products.
My “aha” moment came when I realized that people could literally buy the change they wanted to see, meaning make significant changes in the world through their procurement process.
TO THE MARKET is such a unique brand. What is its main mission?
TO THE MARKET’s mission is to provide ethical (and now custom) products to businesses and consumers that create economic opportunities for vulnerable communities.
How can consumers become conscious shoppers?
Every day presents an opportunity to make a micro-change. Consumers have a very powerful voice when it comes to how products are sourced and made because of their purchasing power. The advocacy organization, Fashion Revolution, has helped draw attention to the human impact behind the fashion industry. Similar organizations exist for food and household goods, which focus on the producers and the environment. By simply asking where did this come from? How was it made? And who made it? — you are starting a conversation.
How can large corporations become more socially responsible?
Consumer behavior is changing. If large corporations want to continue to maintain and grow their market share with millennials, Gen Z, and future generations, socially responsible business practices are a must. Ethical production and sourcing is one way of developing a more socially conscious business. TO THE MARKET has worked with brands ranging from General Mills to UBS that are extending their ethical sourcing footprints beyond food towards other types of products. Corporations have incredible purchasing power and in turn, an opportunity to make a real impact on the ground by simply tweaking their procurement process.
What are some of the largest challenges you’ve encountered while building the TO THE MARKET brand?
As our footprint becomes larger and our client list grows (in the last 60 days we added clients like Hilton, Capital one, and Hearst to our list), there’s an increasing interest in up-market goods. Product development is critical.
What are your secrets to building a successful team?
I work with an incredible team! Our skills and experiences are complementary, but as a whole, my team is hard-working, kind, and innovative–elements key to success!
What is your best tip for an aspiring entrepreneur?
Anyone who starts a business, non-profit, or intrapreneurial project needs thick skin, persistence and a willingness to face setbacks. The key is simply having more wins than losses.
What is your top tip for work-life balance?
Get enough sleep! Nothing replaces a clear and rested mind and body.