Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Noonday Collection // For Sofiya

Fall is in full swing in St. Louis, MO & I am loving it! Fall outfits are so cozy & I am loving the scarf's from this season of Noonday Collection's fall & winter line. There is something so special about the stories these item's represent. It's so much more than a scarf and accessories. Noonday has opened my eyes to how my purchases have power. The story behind this scarf, the Himalyan Scarf, is one that is really empowering. It is made from a new artisan group in India that for the first time have dignity and respect in their community. "people who have suffered from leprosy, also known as Hansen’s Disease. At the Little Flower village in Bihar, India, 225 people whose lives have been affected by leprosy live and work." - Read more here.

"The silk these artisans use to create our multi-colored Himalayan Scarf is harvested in a special way. Unlike most silk production, the process at Little Flower involves allowing the moths to emerge from their cocoons naturally. This gives the silk a raw, less processed feel than typical silk because the moths create little abrasions in the silk fibers as they emerge. We love that at every step, these artisans take care to consider their impact on the environment and on other living things. It’s just one more detail that makes this handmade scarf a unique work of art."

Our artisans are so talented and I love how we incorporate their talent into our products. I love how they use their skill that has been passed down from generation from generation & how they share it with us here in the states.
Another beautiful piece from our India artisans that is one of our best sellers this season is the Sofiya Wrap bracelet.  Our lead product manufacturer, Claire, is visiting our artisans right now and can you believe that mound of bracelets?! They love what they do. They have dignity for their work. Having a marketplace in the States creates so much opportunity for their product to be displayed well & for their story to be told. The bracelet is named after one of our India artisans named Sofiya.

"Sofiya towers above many of her countrywomen and exudes strength, courage, and positivity, both physically and emotionally. Yet despite her big smile, she has had to overcome many obstacles on her road to independence. In India, women are to be dependent upon others but she wanted to rise above the expectations. She wanted to be the exception & I'm so proud of her for working towards that goal. "When Sofiya was 18 years old, she learned about a partnering Noonday Collection equitable trade group based in New Delhi.When Sofiya heard about their jewelry-making program, she knew she wanted to become an artisan." She set out a goal and never stopped working towards it. Sofyia participated in programs where she learned about her rights as an Indian citizen and as a woman & began her partnership with Noonday. Read more of Sofiya's encouraging story here.

So, when you wear your Himalayan ScarfSofiya Wrap, your wearing a story of strength & courage. Think of Sofiya & all our India artisans and be encouraged how we are fighting for eachother & buying a scarf & bracelet is worth so much more than just an accessory. Thanks for believing in Noonday & what it is doing for others around the world!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Noonday Collection // What is your "Why"?

God gave me the strength to be brave – even if that means processing it five years later. During the summer of 2011, I worked at a summer camp called Winshape Camps. I had a camper during one of 
my weeks, let's call him Johnnie, who effected me without even knowing it in the moment. I felt hopeless but offered the only thing I could in the moment – a Bible and God’s love. 

Five weeks later I was told I had a birth defect and there was fluid backed up in my spinal cord. I never had time to process the full effect Johnnie had on me. I never processed camp, or brain surgery because I went straight to complete my junior year at Liberty University. I met my now husband the first week of my junior year so I continued building new relationships, finishing school, and being brave for myself and my family through brain surgery. I’ve been brave praying that Johnnie knows his heavenly Father is fighting for him even though it might seem like no one is fighting for him here on earth. 

I didn’t realize I had all these emotions still inside of me until this past weekend. I went home to visit family in Virginia and had two Noonday Collection trunk shows. One was for my wedding florist, Karen, who I hadn't known before my wedding. It was so special to see how our friendship has grown. The second was with a family friend who I went to church with since the 5th with her trunk show. She wanted to bring women together for good and continue building the new relationships she was forming. I shared the story of Noonday and how it creates economic opportunity for the vulnerable. I also shared how it was created when Jessica, the founder of Noonday, needed to raise money for the adoption of her son, Jack, and to bring him home from Rwanda. 

(Noonday's fearless leader, Jessica Honegger)

Two women had some questions and were asking how I got involved with Noonday. I shared that I found Noonday at a trivia night here in St. Louis and was immediately drawn to the beautiful jewelry and the mission behind it helping men and women all over the world through our purchases. And then, I was asked the question that awoke everything inside of me. “But Brooke, what is your “why”? Why do YOU do Noonday?” quivering no matter how hard you try. All the emotions of being brave for Johnnie, for brain surgery, for being determined to finish college on time no matter what all flooded out. I knew why I was so drawn to the adoption fundraising that is apart of Noonday’s story: Johnnie. The 4th grade boy who I had in my group at Winshape Camps when I was a counselor 5 years ago. Johnnie shared with me that he lived in a boys’ home where he experienced way more horrible things than any child should. His story makes you just want to adopt him and every other child without a home. Every child deserves a home. Every child deserves to be loved and to be loved well. I loved how she chose to be intentional I just started bawling. The ugly cry where your lip can’t stop quivering no matter how hard you try. 

But, that’s not the case with so many children. So, I say all that to say, my “why” of doing Noonday is for Johnnie. My husband and I,feel led to adopt  and we love that Noonday’s mission is to bring forever families together. So, when you partner with Noonday and me to host a trunk show, you are fighting for our artisans’ families who need a constant income to keep their family together and you are fighting to bring a child home for an ambassador’s family. You are a huge part of bringing forever families together. 

I’m so grateful for Jessica and her bravery. I’m so grateful she listened to God’s call on her life to continue selling the beautiful jewelry that brought her son, Jack, home. Her “yes” created Noonday and all the amazing things that accompany it. I love being a part of the group of ambassadors who either have, are in the process of, or are praying about adoption. It’s a group I’m blessed to be apart of this sisterhood with them. Everyday we encourage each other to keep going and to continue on this path because of the artisans. I’m so grateful for opportunities and moments like this that 
change you forever. These are moments when you know God is alive and moving. It’s so easy to doubt God but this weekend I was gently reminded, that he is for you, is fighting for you, and you just have to trust him.
(Some of my Ambassador Sisters & Jessica Honegger, founder of Noonday (middle)