Things that are worthwhile and life-changing are rarely easy.
My most recent artisan visit was a 46 hour journey to reach Indonesia. Visits with our artisans always have a similar agenda: to check in and be sure they are doing well, talk about ideas for the future, provide support, and to continue building strong relationships.
An idea had been in the back of my mind for several years, and I finally felt that it was the right time to act on it.
About five years ago, during one of my first few visits to Indonesia, I was in a remote residential village with small, family-run corner shops that sold just the essentials. It was quiet, low-key, and peaceful. Then, amongst the low-profile buildings sits a two-story textile facility. It appeared that operations shut down quite some time ago but I decided to see if anyone was inside. To my surprise, I found a small handful of workers hand-looming fabric and creating beach sarongs. They were gorgeous, but this facility was far too large for the small amount of output it seemed they were creating.
I met with the owner, a working mother, who’s family had worked in the garment industry for two generations. We connected instantly, she was such a wonderful person. She told me about how orders had slowed down and work anywhere on the island was becoming harder to come by. I felt so compelled to help, but my business was in its infancy and really only focused on jewelry and accessories. I wasn’t sure how we could partner, but I knew something was there.
We’ve kept in touch throughout the years and I’ve paid her a visit with every trip to Indonesia. Then, it struck me. This idea that I couldn’t shake from years ago, this was the big idea that could change everything. I brought a vague concept to her and wanted to get her thoughts; a sketch, a description, and that was it. My background is in jewelry and accessories, I know little about the garment business. But that’s where she excelled, she filled the gaps and could turn this concept into a reality.
Our combined ideas resulted in a line of apparel that’s the perfect mix of sustainability and fashion. These styles can each be worn so many different ways; as a shirt, cape, vest, scarf, poncho, jacket, cover-up, and more. It’s the ultimate piece to have a small, eco-friendly wardrobe without sacrificing style or versatility. And, each piece can be comfortably worn by women XS-3XL, which makes for a wonderfully streamlined production with minimal to no waste.
We have the vision, the facility, and the expertise, now we need your help to bring this to life. I Thought of You is participating in the FexEx Small Business Grant Contest. Your vote for us can help bring this dream to life, open a world of opportunities for skilled women looking for work, and turn the apparel industry upside-down in the best possible way.
We would be so appreciative of your support. The grant would be utilized to bring this concept to market and have inventory ready for sale in fall of 2018. We can’t think of a better way to support women both here in the US and around the world while also making a green fashion footprint.
You can submit your vote every 24 hours.