It’s beginning to look a lot like the time of year that you never know what the weather may have in store. The temperatures change just as quick as the leaves. But with such unpredictable conditions, the biggest stress is deciding what you need to wear for the day so you’re not too hot or not too cold.
There’s already too much stress this time of year so we’re here with the perfect wardrobe solution.
Outfit Bore No More.
Our convertible apparel line, Birch & Grace, launched in 2018 and quickly rose to customer-favorite status. Each style is hand cut, sewn, and dyed by women in Indonesia and every purchase provides these women with fair wages and life changing opportunities. We designed these pieces to be lightweight and layering friendly and offered in the perfect neutral tones to complement those Fall vibes you’re rocking. Not to mention, each piece has at least six different ways to wear it (with our Long Top and Short Top coming in at 18+ ways!) so you’re guaranteed to never bore of your outfit options.
While the versatility of our Birch & Grace wear is definitely praiseworthy, the story behind its fruition and behind the lives of the women who create such styles is what we love most.
A Conversation to a Revelation.
The team of our convertible apparel artisans settles in around 35 women, many of whom face financial challenges and providing for their families. The leader of this group is a single mother whose family maintained a textile mill that had long since went out of operation. Our owner and founder, Mandy, happened upon the closed up factory while on a trip to Indonesia to meet with other groups of artisans. After lots of *metaphorical* digging and asking around, she tracked down the woman who owned it and so started the conversation that soon led to an eco-friendly fashion line.
Through their conversation, Mandy learned history of this woman’s family and the factory and also how the mill was no longer operational due to lack of work, not the lack of desire to work. After hearing these stories and seeing such potential to make a change, Mandy was determined to make use of the mill once again.
Since apparel was a new category for I Thought of You to take on, it took longer than usual to figure out logistics and finalize our production plan. The patience was worth the effort as it paved the way for new offerings for our customers and brought along a story to remember.
The Perfect Win-Win.
While we were planning our apparel designs and shop talking business, we decided to launch a different product of theirs into the market that could be made quickly to help them start earning their profits. In nearby neighborhood shops, there was a surplus of fabric scraps from unused resources. Our artisans upcycled these into our – now very popular – Headwraps. These little experimental products turned out to be a hit style and also made what-was-once-just waste into wonders. It was the perfect win-win.
Word spread quickly that the old textile mill was destined to be back in business. As a result, our first apparel order was so large that it created more jobs than we could have anticipated for the locals in tow. One order soon became two which then became three and is now a product in consistent high demand. Each sale continues to create opportunities and spread hope for this Indonesian village.
The back-in-business factory is surrounded by a residential neighborhood community with small corner shops peppered throughout. Many residents can now work in a location that’s convenient to where they live, allowing them to stay close to their family while also eliminating the need for long treks to other workplaces with worse pay and worse hours. Such changes are helping to positively impact the financial challenges these women have faced for far too long. We hope to continually impact the lives of the women and the families who make this all possible.
Powerful History and Powerful Women.
Birch & Grace has been such an amazing addition to our shop. And as a reward for paying such great attention during our history lesson, we’re going to let you in on a little secret, too…
At the end of this month, we will be releasing new colors in all four styles of our convertible apparel! You can thank your Curators for the beautiful new hues—they voted on their favorites and their top votes are what will be included in our new release.
So, don’t stress when you’re rushing out the door before checking the weather first. Throw on your Birch & Grace and tackle the day like the powerful woman you are.