The holidays are indeed upon us… And getting back to my original plan this month, I am honored to feature amazing businesses in the coming weeks that deserve high praise for not only the “beauties” they sell but also to celebrate the mission behind their brand.
This Christmas has taken on a whole new meaning for me as a single mom, so I am excited to share about a thoughtful company that empowers the working woman to experience financial reward and personal freedom as a result of unique international partnerships.
It is a joy to talk with my dear friend Kirsten Dickerson, Co-Founder of Raven and Lily, for this post.
We have known each other for over 20 years from our Pi Beta Phi sorority days, so it a blessing to watch her business thrive as she changes lives everyday. Her vision to offer trend-forward fair trade fashion, accessories, and home furnishings to empower women on a global scale truly inspires me.
Here is a little Q and A with Kirsten.
J- What was your inspiration behind Raven and Lily?
K- My inspiration behind Raven + Lily is the value of women. I believe in dignity oriented opportunity for women, and I know that when women are empowered, they will invest in their families and communities. I created a lifestyle brand that would provide the Western women with products that reflect the beauty and culture of the women who made them. We think about the impact on people and the planet at every stage of production and follow fair trade standards. Our customers are part of the beautiful redemptive stories of hope unfolding in the lives of the women who make our designs.
J- Can you explain your signature look / describe the brand behind Raven and Lily?
K- We are modern, yet organic. I love neutrals, texture, minimalism and a little bling. I believe in designing things for fashion and the home you can love for years and aren’t dictated by trends. All materials used in Raven + Lily designs are natural and sustainably sourced.
J- Could you tell us a bit about your heart for philanthropy and vision for sustainable fashion?
K– With every purchase, our customers are helping to provide fair trade employment for at risk women. With every purchase, our customers are also helping to donate back to help provide micro loans for HIV+ women who have graduated from a business skills training program. At every stage of our production process, we think through the impact on people and the planet…as far back as the buttons and where cotton is sourced. We want to know the story behind our designs so that our customer can be confident they are having a positive and not negative impact with their purchase.
Statistically, fashion is the second largest polluter, 1 in 6 people are employed in the industry, less than 3% earn a livable wage, and 80% are women. These stats are heart-breaking, but I’m in the business of breaking that negative impact and proving that it is possible to produce beautiful products that empower women and protect our beautiful world.
J- What tips would give others to keep in mind this holiday season when shopping?
K- Slow down, and look for opportunities to gift, dress, and decorate thoughtfully this holiday season. It takes time, but its possible to do this. There are so many wonderful companies and products that do good in the world now. If you don’t know where to start, try this excellent of social good companies http://www.thegoodtrade.com
J- What is your favorite piece in the store right now (if you had to choose one)?
K- For fashion, I love the goat hair bucket bag and Simbi black dress with brass buckles. It’s the perfect LBD for year round wear. For the home, I love the wool pom blankets and pillows from Morocco. They are on my master bed and look perfect for the holidays though I use them year round!
J- Talent runs in your family. Tell us a little about your husbands movie premiere and background?
K- Well, my husband, Brandon Dickerson, is a film-maker and current director at Laity Lodge. His most recent movie, “Amanda and Jack Go Glamping” was filmed at our former glamping retreat, Green Acres, outside Austin and was just released. You can download and watch it this week! Our son is also an aspiring film-maker and my daughter wants to be a culinary artist. So I guess its safe to say we are a family of artists who really love movies and nature.
I hope your holidays are filled with happiness and peace. It always pays royally when you shop with purpose and with brands who gives back a hundred-fold like Raven + Lilly.
Blessings to You and Yours this Holiday Season.