The idea for this company was conceived in Varkala, India in October 2010, almost one year to the day that I embarked on a quest to take my life in a positive, new direction. My decision was prompted by the earthshattering loss of my mother in a terrible accident 4 days after our Mother’s Day weekend together in 2009.
Confronted with life’s fragility, I took off on a trip around the globe, open to where this journey would take me and hopeful that I would return feeling inspired by the path I was pursuing. This idea, which allows me to work with and give back to the countries, communities, and people that touched my heart and helped it to heal, fills me with joy and I am elated to be pursuing work that I find meaningful, interesting, philanthropic, and fun.
Since I was a nomad and carrying all of my possessions on my back, I was very particular about the souvenirs I would allow myself to buy, wanting to focus on unique and high quality pieces that would stand the test of time. Usually, I was buying from the artist directly so of course we bonded while discussing the piece and over time I began to amass an impressive network of talented craftsmen and women across the globe. I became intrigued by the idea of starting an import business to share these original pieces with a Western audience, purchasing a small notebook where I could scribble down ideas and create detailed lists of things I needed to explore in greater detail.
My brother, Rob, was living in Mae Sot, Thailand at the time and offered me a free place to crash for as long as I needed before returning to the United States. I immediately accepted his generous offer, thrilled to spend time with my baby bro and excited to have the time to explore my entrepreneurial ideas in a beautiful, low stress, inexpensive, and creative-minded environment.
While in Mae Sot, I grew close with Rob’s crew, including an artist named Sandy Shum who specializes in impressionistic photography. Sandy does a lot to cultivate creativity in the community and one of the ways that she does this is by hosting collage day at her house every Saturday afternoon. I loved these weekend gatherings not only because of the creative environment and copious amounts of delicious food, but also because of the stimulating conversations that would arise as we were composing our masterpieces. I am thrilled to be featuring 3 of Sandy’s striking pieces in my shop and I hope that you love them as much as I do.
Philanthropy is something that is very important to me and I am delighted to be supporting two issues that move me deep at my core: elephant rescue and rehabilitation and bat education and conservation.
I have always been intrigued by elephants, finding them to be such loyal, intelligent, and compassionate animals so I knew that volunteering with elephants was something that I was going to do on this voyage. I did my homework and was confident that I found the right fit when I found the Elephant Nature Park in Northern Thailand, which offers a safe haven for elephants who have been on the receiving end of cruelty by man. After volunteering at ENP in January of 2010 I knew this was an organization that I would support for the rest of my life.
My battitude comes from Mom who became a staunch defender of bats after learning more about them in preparation for a unit that she was teaching her students. She would always find clever ways to weave tidbits about bats into casual conversations so my brothers and I thought that a permanent, educational exhibit about bats was a perfect way to honor her legacy as an educator. On October 1, 2011 (Mom’s birthday), we dedicated The World of Bats exhibit to The Chattahoochee Nature Center, a place we frequented throughout our childhoods, in Mom’s honor and we remain committed to expanding its curriculum in the years to come.
A portion of the proceeds from this shop will go to supporting both of these organizations and I hope that you will join me in supporting them as well.
Thank you for taking the time to learn more about my company. I hope you find something you absolutely adore!