On a recent trip to Raleigh for a baseball tournament, my family and I took a detour to check out a friend’s new business location. Cary and business partner Kristen launched an artisan studio, Designed For Joy back in 2017 but had recently relocated to a larger facility. Living in Virginia this trip was the first opportunity we were able to visit the studio in person as opposed to shopping online.
There was a sidewalk pop-up shop outside the store when we arrived due to the current COVIC pandemic. An array of beautifully handcrafted jewelry, colorful headwraps, leather handbags, rustic charcuterie boards and more, decorated shelves. Thankfully, Cary was in the studio that morning and I was able to get a tour of the facilities. I’m not going to lie, my eyes teared up hearing the story behind the concept of the business and how it helps the most vulnerable women in Raleigh.
The idea for Design For Joy came to fruition after Cary and Kristen participated in a mission trip to Rwanda. Inspired by fair trade artisan groups that were providing safe and faith based work environments for local women, these two inspirational women decided to create a similar experience in Raleigh.
Designed for Joy is a non-profit organization that provides transitional work experience for women coming from trafficking, homelessness, time in prison, overcoming addiction or other vulnerable situations. Cary and Kristen focus on teaching each artisan creative skills like designing, sewing, and product creation. They also provide the women business skills like resume writing, quality control and store management. Skills that will be invaluable when each artisan is ready to move on. The organization does all this and more while providing women with a living wage.
The holidays are a few months away. I hope you visit Designed For Joy’s website, Facebook page or Instagram. You won’t be disappointed in anything you purchase. Each product sold has the name of the artisan who made it on the tag and comes with a card sharing the Design For Joy mission.
Personally, I walked away with a bag full if Christmas gifts that I’m sure my recipients will love and with gratitude that we were able to help support others as they “rise up”.