A Fusion of Beauty and Purpose
The story begins with a chance encounter in a small market in Indonesia over 10 years ago, where our founder Mandy crossed paths with Yulia, a local woman crafting exquisite jewelry to support her family. Struck by the beauty and craftsmanship of Yulia's creations, Mandy's purchase of these pieces unknowingly laid the foundation for a brand that transcends mere commerce—it embodies a movement for good.
Upon returning to the US, Mandy's decision to share these handcrafted treasures with friends and family ignited a chain of events that would birth I Thought of You. The brand started as a bridge connecting artisans in remote communities to a global marketplace, providing a platform for their talents to shine.
I Thought of You has evolved into a beacon of hope for artisans worldwide. What started as a single woman's effort to empower Yulia and her family has blossomed into a global initiative that aims to uplift communities facing economic hardships.
Impactful Pillars of Support: A Holistic Approach to Empowerment
At the heart of I Thought of You's mission are support pillars that form the foundation for positive change:
1. Fair Wages: I Thought of You is unwavering in its commitment to fair wages. Collaborating closely with artisans, the brand ensures that every piece crafted is a testament to the time, skill, and effort invested by these talented individuals. By advocating for fair wages, Mandy fosters economic empowerment and gender equity in communities where such principles are often not considered.
2. Access to Services: Recognizing the challenges faced by artisans living in resource-constrained communities, I Thought of You extends its support beyond wages. This brand understands that a steady job is a gateway to essential services such as education, training, and healthcare. Through these initiatives, I Thought of You contributes to the creation of resilient communities, enabling artisans to achieve their aspirations.
3. Preserving Traditional Craftsmanship: I Thought of You cherishes the cultural richness embedded in traditional practices. Purchases from the brand not only support artisans but also contribute to the preservation of age-old crafting techniques passed down through generations. This commitment to tradition promotes cultural diversity and sustains the legacy of these invaluable skills.
4. Building Community: Strong, supportive communities are essential for women's empowerment and economic development. I Thought of You goes beyond being a brand—it’s a community of like-minded individuals dedicated to positive change. By shopping small, customers become part of this community, contributing to a collective effort for global transformation.
The Goal: Building Dreams Through Sustainable Employment
I Thought of You envisions a world where sustainable employment empowers artisans with brighter futures. Through consistent income, these artisans can provide for their families, send their children to school, and contribute to the creation of thriving communities. Together, Mandy and her team at I Thought of You are crafting a world where dreams can flourish for artisans around the globe.
Facing the Challenges: Navigating the Current Landscape
Despite the brand's commendable achievements, I Thought of You, like many small businesses, has not been immune to the challenges of the current landscape. The complexities of slowing retail sales, supply chain disruptions, soaring shipping costs, and resource limitations pose significant obstacles. However, the most pressing challenge lies in the potential repercussions for artisans when businesses are unable to meet their financial commitments.
Mandy shares a harrowing realization—that fellow brands with similar missions have faced insurmountable challenges, leading to the risk of devastating consequences for the artisans they collaborate with. Small businesses, particularly those with strong social missions, find themselves caught in a precarious position where financial strain could reverberate across the globe, affecting the lives of makers in unforeseen ways.
Stepping In: I Thought of You's Compassionate Response
In the face of this crisis, Mandy and the I Thought of You team exemplify their commitment to ethical business practices. Despite not budgeting for unexpected challenges, in late 2022 the brand made a conscious decision to step in and purchase the inventory from struggling brands. Integrating these pieces into upcoming launches, I Thought of You ensures that hardworking individuals, now part of their extended family of makers, are not left without support.
This compassionate response extends beyond business transactions—it reflects a broader commitment to the Fair Trade community and the shared responsibility to uplift those who contribute to the beauty of handcrafted products.
Crafting a Future of Hope and Empowerment
I Thought of You is more than a brand; it is a force for good in the world. Mandy Nagel's unwavering commitment to transforming lives through Fair Trade practices has created a movement that extends far beyond the purchase of handcrafted accessories. It is a movement fueled by compassion, sustainability, and the belief that every purchase holds the power to build dreams.
In a landscape fraught with challenges, I Thought of You stands as a testament to the resilience of brands with a social mission.