Imagine standing in a small tent, surrounded by artisans whose hands are in motion as they roll and wrap and work recycled-paper rolled and papier-mache, layer after layer to form a bead. A bead whose ridges and colors remind you with each touch, of a land and of a people that embody pride and beauty.
Building Capacity One Citizen at a Time
A bead that together with others on its colorful string, represents a mission and passion to build capacity in local artisans around the globe, fostering sustainable progress through ethical fashion. Maiden Nation, co-founded and inspired by Willa Shalit, an entrepreneur-artist-philanthropist-and Renaissance woman, is “a nation designed for change” made up of citizens like you and I. Maiden Nation was founded to empower women through ethical fashion with a goal of creating a global nation of citizens who build capacity in artisan and designer maidens around the world sharing a passion for beauty and social consciousness.
I became a citizen of Maiden Nation as soon as I learned about it…not just because I love Willa and the message and passion of Maiden Nation, but because I have seen first hand the impact that sustainable efforts that promote trade (not aid) can have on real lives. Because the story and magic of Maiden Nation is not just in the beauty of the pieces, like the Chan Luu Kiss-Kiss bracelet, but int he story of the people whose hands crafted each bead.
The Chan Luu ‘Kiss-Kiss Bracelet’ is made by artisans at the Hands Together Cooperative at the J/P Haitian Relief Organization in Petionville, Haiti. Artisans that come together each day to “Thread the community together,” while learning business management, new artistry skills, to become global producers that can support their families and community.
Imagine having met those artisans, seen those hands at work. Knowing that each bead represents not just a bracelet, but an effort to build capacity through ethical fashion and sustainable programs.
Chan Luu’s ‘Kiss-Kiss Bracelet’ reminds us not just of the beauty that abounds in Haiti, but of the customary Haitian greeting of giving a kiss on each cheek but it also reminds us of the power that ethical fashion and trade not aid programs can have. Because more than $6 from the purchase price of each bracelet will be donated to J/P Haitian Relief Organization to support community development in Haiti. (The bracelets retail for $25.)
I could wax poetic for a very long time about the work that is being done in Haiti and around the globe to empower women through the sale of ethical goods, but instead, I am going to to celebrate the launch of Live.Do.Grow, a site that in large part was born during my trip to Haiti, walking down the streets of Jacmel, talking with Willa….with a surprise.
As in… a giveaway, of my own doing, because supporting Maiden Nation and the Hands Together Cooperative is just that important to me.
TWO lucky readers will win, their very own, stunning, Chan Luu Kiss-Kiss bracelet. My hope is that some of you might be inspired to pay it forward and give a gift during this holiday season that will not only be beautiful, but will give back to the hands that crafted it.
Leave a comment about why you would like to win a Chan Luu Kiss-Kiss Bracelet, OR visit Maiden Nation and share which piece makes your heart sing. (Or do both for an extra entry!) Entries will be accepted until Tuesday, December 11th. The 2 winners will be chosen using random.org and will be contacted via email. (Open to residents of the US and Canada).
Thanks to Everywhere and MaidenNation for a providing me with a Kiss Kiss bracelet. The bracelets used for the giveaway were bought by me, because I believe in the work of Maiden Nation, J/P HRO, and work that is being done by the Artisans Business Network in Haiti.
For more information about the Maiden Nation movement as well as additional images, please visit www.maidennation.com. Also, please be sure to follow Maiden Nation on twitter, Pinterest, & become a fan of their Facebook page. Read about how Maiden Nation found inspiration through Maidens in Haiti in this months’ Glamour magazine.