I’m back! Man, do I love Labor Day weekend. Okay, to be honest, I mostly just love having Mondays off… But really, having such a busy summer really helped me to appreciate this Labor Day more than any other. My work is something that keeps me incredibly busy and requires a lot of extra commitments, and too often I let the struggles overshadow how much I enjoy my work and how grateful I am for the benefits it has afforded me.  I didn’t do a whole lot this past weekend, but that was my goal to begin with. :) During some much-needed downtime (which included cuddling with a dog, looking at my “Pinspirational” board on Pinterest, and Netflixing) I was able to take a breather from the craziness around me and re-focus on the important things – like getting back to you!

Sweet, sweet Labor Day: the ultimate reminder that summer is over and it’s now time to re-embrace my lily-white skin for the next seven months.

From my first introduction to Ginger & Mary Ann Clothing Co., I was quickly intrigued by the really cool work we do with local refugees through the organization Artisans For Hope, and have wanted to share it, but have also been having a serious struggle calling on a Muse (hence the Pinterest rabbit-hole). Kind of amazing how timing can help sort out those creative cobwebs…

If you’ve taken a gander through the wide selection Ginger & Mary Ann Clothing Co. has to offer, you’ve seen our headbands and know they are just as unique as the rest of our clothing (and if you haven’t seen them, now is your chance: just click here! Easy, right?) Each headband is made from the leftover fabrics used in the rest of our clothing lines, which means no two are alike! (Plus: original artwork, high-performance fabric, handcrafted, made locally… Should I go on?)

Just one of many fabulous styles you could get when you order one of our headbands! Talk about a reason to order multiple...

Just one of many fabulous styles you could get when you order one of our headbands! Talk about a reason to order multiple…

One of the best features about this headband is the fact that they are produced here in Boise, Idaho by local refugees working with Artisans For Hope.

‘Artisans For Hope is a community-based, volunteer-driven nonprofit organization in the resettlement city of Boise, Idaho. Our goal is to assist incoming refugees develop the skill base, language acquisition, and confidence to successfully integrate into their new community. We do this by building on the traditional fiber-related handcraft skills and interests of refugees.” [Artisans For Hope Program Statement]

Boise is currently home to a growing refugee community hailing from over 35 different countries across the world, all of whom are actively working to create a life for themselves in their new home. Artisans For Hope is able to provide education, community, and working opportunities through their various programs. Their services include the training and materials needed to expand refugees’ textile skills, as well as the business skills and opportunities to market their handcrafted items as entrepreneurs. Additionally, they offer English as a Second Language (ESL) classes and education about the local community to ease assimilation in a new environment. Producing the headbands for Ginger & Mary Ann Clothing Co. allows refugee women the opportunity to use the skills they have been taught (many for generations) and produce a very well-crafted, fashionable product to go out into the world.

Artisans of Hope

Behind-the-seams: Here are some of the hardworking women at Artisans For Hope crafting our beautiful headbands.

“Every one of those headbands mean much needed extra income for these women, and also the satisfaction and pride that comes with producing beautiful, useful things. We are so happy to be a small part of the Ginger & Mary Ann story.” – Elaine Garris, Executive Director

Being a part of a company that is not only locally-owned and operated, but that actively works toward involving its community in a meaningful way is a really unique opportunity and it’s a concept that many more companies should actively embrace.  There are a variety of different ways organizations can (and do) give back, but the direct involvement Ginger & Mary Ann Clothing Co. has with Artisans For Hope in utilizing these long-standing trade skills to create a high-quality product is truly work to be proud of!

 

 


Are you interested in getting involved with Artisans For Hope? Like many non-profits hoping to make a change in the lives of others, they rely greatly on the support of the community. If you’d like to refer a student, hire a sewer, or lend any other kind of support, let them know!