The Dilworth store with goods made by women has a new paint job, and a new sign coming soon, but the team inside remains the same.
“Fashion & Compassion” is now “BraveWorks.”
Why it matters: “The name is catching up with the work that we do,” executive director Beth Bell tells me. Their mission to empower women and families overcoming trauma is consistent, however. “Our new name better reflects our outcomes, our why.”
Context: Michele Dudley and Celeste Bundy launched Fashion & Compassion as a nonprofit in 2012 with the goal of helping victims of domestic abuse, prostitution, sex trafficking and other traumatic experiences. The duo traveled around the world collecting goods made by women who experienced abuse.
- “Despite tremendous adversity in their lives, they have hope,” co-founder Bundy told Axios in 2015.
The organization began their rebrand journey more than a year ago. They surveyed more than 12 focus groups and more than 100 people, including artisans that have gone through their program. “Our artisans told us that they emerge from our program confident, courageous, bold and brave,” said Bell. “That led us to the name, BraveWorks.”
How it works: BraveWorks sells handcrafted jewelry, clothes and home goods produced by women in Charlotte and beyond who’ve escaped traumatic situations. The nonprofit offers jewelry-making classes to survivors and provides them with a space to craft and sell their products.
- The women are paid upfront for their work and creations, which means that all financial risk falls on BraveWorks, not on the artisans.
The nonprofit has production studios in Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Haiti, Ecuador and Peru. “It’s important to us to have an indigenous leader on the ground at each site,” said Bundy, “so that it’s not us as outsiders just invading with our ideas.”
- Each site produces its own unique collection and is available to purchase online and in-person at the Dilworth store.
“Because of this program, I now know who I am — who I was meant to be. Not who others think I should be,” said Sheila, a BraveWorks graduate and artisan.
Take a look inside: