Monday, November 23, 2015

Meet Sarah // Jumping Jack

Hey Guys! I'm back and so ready to hit you with another gem of a feature! Every girl likes to dress up every now and then, but lets face it, most of us hustlin' mamas don't have a ton of time to get ready before toting kids around, running errands, and keeping up with the daily to do's. Can't we look cute and casual? comfy and chic... at the same time? DUH yes! Some of my favorite brands are the ones that allow me to be comfortable and functional and feel good while doing just that. I've gotten so many compliments on this super cozy, laid back, not too loose/not too tight, wear it till it has a hole somewhere, v-neck tee from Jumping Jack! It's thin and soft, so I can layer it... even wear the thing to bed and still rock it the next day haha! What? Did I just say that out loud? Yes... yes I did. This tee represents me so well and also is super stylish. Doesn't matter how you wear it to be honest. I can wear it to work out, with jeans and a flannel (as seen below), or with my pj pants while watching netflix! "drink the coffee, do the things". How perfect is that... my life in a nutshell. You feel me?!





I love that you cannot find this tee anywhere! Nope, it's not your typical  tee that is mass produced and everyone else in the world has it. It was created by a lovely hard working mama who wants to make a living and honor her son's memory while doing it. Sarah's one of those people with a lot of creativity and depth. She used her creativity to help her get through an extremely painful part of her life and is now spreading awareness through her story. I mean, her strength is just as admirable as her perfectly designed tees! Read the short interview I did with her below to get to know her and her story a little better! (ps theres a little treat for you at the end)

Sarah with her husband, adorable daughter, and photo of her baby boy, Jack.

Their precious son, Jack.


What inspired the name, Jumping Jack? / Who or what really motivated you to open up your own shop?

Before Jumping Jack, I was a full time preschool teacher and did photography on the side. In 2011, our son Jack was born. Shortly after his birth, we started noticing he was having trouble holding his head up and breathing on his own. After a whirlwind at the hospital, he was diagnosed with the #1 genetic killer of infants and children, Spinal Muscular Atrophy, or SMA. Jack required 24 hour care. He was unable to hold most baby toys because of his weak muscles. I started to craft and make him small fabric crinkle toys that he could hold. Crafting was very therapeutic for me during this horrible rollercoaster ride we were on. In August of 2011, I opened my etsy shop with Jack right there by my side. I sold crinkle tag toys and headbands. The very first headband I made was actually for Jack. We needed something to help hold his oxygen and feeding tube in place. Jack lived 199 days. He is the strongest boy I know and the reason I do what I do each day.




What have you learned from your experience?

After our daughter was born in 2013, we created our Instagram account (@shopjumpingjack) and started working on our shop more full time. When we first started focusing on our business, there was a lot of figuring out how we were going to be seen. Instagram definitely helped get our name out there! After we started selling more product and more customers shared where they got our items from, we started growing pretty rapidly. Being able to connect with other entrepreneurs has been really great! It allows me to create lasting partnerships and we learn from each other on how to grow a successful businesses.
Instagram has been a great avenue to share our story and spread awareness about SMA as well.




What is a goal/dream that you hope to accomplish?

I would like to take the next step in hiring a few more employees to allow us to expand the business. That way, I can focus on what I am good at and have others focus on separate parts of the business making it more efficient over all.




Describe what a typical day looks like for you.

I work an average of 30 hours a week. A lot of that is when our daughter is at school, napping or asleep for the night. That way I am still able to spend quality time with her and the business doesn’t take away from that.




How would you describe your personal style?

Our mom life top knot tee describes my style pretty well! I love anything comfortable! I throw my hair up in a top knot, add a headband, some yoga pants and I am good to go.




What's something quirky about you that most people may not know or a fun fact?

I lived in Hawaii for 4 years and still love to visit every couple years.


Sarah, thank you so much for sharing your story and for allowing me to feature you! I cannot wait to see how your shop continues to grow and of course I wish you all the very best along the way! 

I hope you all enjoyed reading this and that you take a minute to go check out her shop! Christmas is right around the corner (only 4 weekends away!!) so don't wait till stock is down and shipping has to be of concern! Just hop on over to https://www.etsy.com/shop/jumpingjackjack now and use the code SHOPSMALL15 to receive 15% off of your purchase! Happy shopping!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Meet Gwen // SOKO

Happy Friday eve loves! I'm a little over the moon because I'm about to let you in on an amazing company! This feature was SUCH a pleasure for me to create! You know I love companies that give back... well this one was founded on that very idea. I can't emphasize to you enough how genuine and passionate these ladies are and I'm so honored that they allowed me to share their story with you!

Soko was born out of a love of design, a combination of global perspectives, the desire to connect and empower entrepreneurs via the use of the technology around us, and a belief that women can change the world. I'm so inspired by them and their mission to reach out and provide open doors to those less connected to the world. Gwen, along with her co-founders, make it their mission to give makers in developing countries the opportunity to make a living for themselves by connecting them through technology. The growth they have had and their heart to equip women in underprivileged economies is just stunning. On average, within two months of joining Soko, artisans increase their incomes by a factor of 4x! How amazing is that? Soko works with artisans in Kenya to create modern, ethical jewelry that is handmade from sustainable materials. These ladies are all about transforming the fashion industry to be more of a positive force. 

On another note, their jewelry is GORGEOUS! I mean, take a look at the necklace they sent me below for example. It's simplistic, yet noticeably chic. Check out their website to see more and I guarantee you, you'll have a hard time not wanting to scoop it all up! As you can see, hey're all such classic pieces you can wear everyday... casual or dressed up. It really doesn't get much better than that!

PoP Geo Sasi Lariat necklace | Pencils of Promise Capsule Collection







They recently launched a capsule collection for this holiday in partnership with Adam Braun's Pencils of Promise. Soko will donate 20% of every purchase toward Pencils of Promise's school builds in Ghana while 30% goes back to their artisans in Kenya.
"We see this as the next generation of fundraising, where both the creation and the sale of the product supports under-served communities around the world.
 For us, it's been meaningful to make the connection between access to dignified and safe work for parents in the developing world as a key to being able to invest in the next generation's future.

check out this short video clip to get a picture of what this collection is supporting. It's a pretty wonderful thing to see for yourself and super heart warming.

Now that you've gotten a little taste of what the products look like and the mission behind this beautiful company, lets meet one of the founders!...

The lovely, Gwen, co-founder of Soko.


Where did the name, Soko come from?

Soko means 'marketplace' in Swahili. Our company mission is to bridge the gap and create equitable trade of beautiful goods between artisans in Africa and consumers worldwide.


What/who was the biggest 
inspiration to start this shop? 

 
For years working in tech and international development I had witnessed the mobile phone becoming a huge driver of development, due to its pervasive and accessible nature. The mobile phone is the most ubiquitous technology in the world, with over 90% of the population in places like Kenya owning a mobile phone and being mobile literate. About 3 years ago, I was working in Kenya and was serendipitously sharing a house with and met my co-founders Ella Griffith, who also had a background in design, as an architect, and Catherine Mahugu, a Kenyan technologist. They are amazing women and had both worked extensively in technology innovation and community development. We realized a convergence that was happening between pervasive mobile ownership and literacy, mobile money penetration (branchless, creditless banking for the poor), and a global appetite for products with backstory that supported an emerging cool of ethical behavior that could provide an opportunity to completely change the face of global commerce.


What's something you've learned from doing this? 
 
If I were to give advice to my younger self, I wish I had understood how fun and how hard it would be, and to begin asking for help and support from my extended network as soon as possible. People want to help and champion good ideas, organizations, and individuals. Remember this and always extend the opportunity for people to get personally involved in your mission or business.

 

What does a typical day look like for you?
 
Between Soko’s headquarters in Nairobi and our Sales and Marketing team in San Francisco, my days are anything but typical. When Im at home in the Bay Area, I often take early morning calls with Kenya from home, then head into our office in downtown San Francisco. I travel about 50% of the year, so when I’m in San Francisco, it’s great to take advantage of the opportunity to spend time in person with our team here. While in Nairobi, where I spend about 2 months of every year, you can find me prototyping new designs with our artisans, developing our tech systems, or dreaming up new ideas with my two co-founders (who live full time in Kenya). 


What is a goal that you hope to attain in the near future?
 
 To normalize a new category of consumption,"Ethical Fast 
Fashion ​,” where international consumers can easily and affordably purchase high quality goods that are handmade in emerging markets. 


What is your personal style?  

Well, amongst the amazingly stylish ladies of Soko, I would describe myself stylistically as the little boy of the group :) I studied design, amongst other things, and my love of simple designs that celebrate material or construction comes out in my style. I love androgynous fashion with a feminine edge.


IF you could have any super power what would it be?

Never having jet lag! Catnapping and teleportation would be great as well!


Thank you SO much, Gwen, for sharing a bit more about yourself and your company! So grateful that you took the time to let us in on what you're doing and that you're reaching women in other nations and giving them opportunities! Love, love it! I'm a supporter for life and cannot wait to see what other amazing things you ladies will accomplish through Soko in the future!

For all of you that want to support these lovely women (founders and makers), consider shopping small this holiday season. When you give a gift from Soko, you are giving to more than just the receiver. You're giving to men, women, and children who do not have the comforts and opportunities that we have here in the US. It's a small thing, but it can make a world of a difference. Hop over to www.shopsoko.com to check out all their stunning jewelry options for you are a loved one! Thanks for reading and happy shopping!