by Megan Reilly Cayten & Jessica Hendricks Yee of The Brave Collection
In our first conversation, while filming a fun short video on brands empowering others, Jessica brought up one of her measures of positive impact on the women artisans in Cambodia who make her products: babies! When she asked how the company’s growth in 2015 affected their lives, one of Brave's artisan's, Sreyiek, said “so many of us have felt financially sustainable enough to expand our families – we have had six pregnancies this year.” The same is true for Catrinka’s artisans, almost all of whom are mothers – some with a new baby, saving up to build a better home before having another, and others with four or more children.
Srey (above) grew up in Phnom Penh with a brother and sister -- her family sold breakfast foods in the local market. She was never able to get an education. Today she has three children -- two boys and a little girl, Thyphech (pictured), and makes a living weaving and braiding bracelets for The Brave Collection.
Improving economic opportunities for women makes it possible for them to envision a better world to bring their children into, one where they feel confident they can feed and clothe their children, and invest in their education. Earning an income from home is a crucial part of the equation: Vidalia del Carmen Duran, part of the group that makes Catrinka’s jewelry in El Salvador, says “We are especially grateful to be able to work within our own community – we can all be with our kids and take care of our homes, without having to leave and look for work.” Work-life balance is a struggle for mothers everywhere, and working from home on a flexible schedule can be a way to make it all work.
And everywhere, improving women’s economic opportunities has an effect on gender balance. Maria Fidelina Ramirez, a colleague of Vidalia’s, says “I make more than my husband!” The women who work with us often say they are grateful to their husbands for helping with kids and chores while they work, and some say the income they bring in has changed how their husband views them, and given them more independence. A more balanced gender relationship among parents has an impact on their children’s expectations in the future.
That is the impact you have every time you make a purchase from a woman artisan. This Mother’s Day, we are honoring the mothers who make our products by featuring two special products made by mothers in Cambodia and Mexico: the Brave Collection bracelet in deep blue cobra stitch, and the Paulina Tote.
Honor a mother you know, and thank her for investing in the next generation, with a gift that supports mothers around the world. Find all of our products made by women in the Mothermade collection. Thank you for buying mother-made!