On November 14th, we spread our wings and opened a store in downtown Olympia. We recruited employees who were specifically drawn to the mission of orphan prevention and because of their passion, have been amazing additions to the team and have quickly become friends and soul sisters!

Opening a store is a scary adventure. It involves a ton of risk and a lot of personal investment and a determination that it is not allowed to be a failure! Too much is on the line here. Jobs in Haiti, jobs in the Unites States… the weight and excitement of what one single store can do for jobs is both terrifying and so exciting. I am not imagining this is going to be easy, but I do think that if we can nail this down and learn how to be “store planters” that we will be able to further our mission of job creation exponentially!

It’s funny how three months ago, I didn’t even imagine that I would be leaving Haiti.

People accuse me of jumping on new ideas fast and changing things up, but when a light bulb goes on, it is hard for me to not act on it. A few months ago I was invited to a meeting with some top players in a major retail chain in America. They were there to consult with us and help us with the next steps for business. We are primarily a wholesale company and are so grateful for the companies that continue to buy and keep our artisans employed. These executives asked me a question that burned in my mind.

“If you could sell to anyone, who would your dream client be?”

“What company has the same DNA as yours?”

And I sat and thought about all of the great companies that are selling for us and do have the same DNA- the passion for changing the world for the better.

But I was also feeling a stirring after this meeting. What if we could also tell our story directly to the consumer? What if we were able to stand and tell the lady who is buying that one coffee mug or necklace for her friend and thank her for what she is doing to change lives in Haiti. What if she could leave knowing she had made a difference.  I knew I had to try. I wanted to see if we could also be a voice in the retail world. And so here we are. In rainy Olympia telling our story to every single person who walks in the door. Inviting them into the work of redeeming families out of poverty. It is holy work. I am honored to be able to take part.

It has also given us a new perspective on how hard the retail world is and hopefully we will become better at what we do so that the many amazing companies who buy from us will be able to do their work better because we understand their pain-points. Hopefully this is a win for everyone!

I have been getting a lot more opportunity to share my vision publicly and am looking forward to more platforms to speak and share the story and the drive behind why we do what we do! If you are interested in having my speak and your church, rotary club, Mops group, school, or other event, please let me know. My time is constrained by my commitment to my children, but after that, I feel like it is the most important thing I could be doing!

 

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