New name, same mission: Fashion & Compassion becomes BraveWorks

New name, same mission: Fashion & Compassion becomes BraveWorks
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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:

bags and jewelery braveworks

When you walk in, the first room on your right has hand-crafted jewelry and purses for sale.
Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

baskets from guatemala braveworks

In this room, you’ll find hand-woven baskets from Guatemala made from recycled plastic and Skirts made by women in Uganda and Charlotte. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

home goods room braveworks

The home goods room has recycled steel drums from Haiti, Ethiopian linens, and candles made from trafficking survivors in Charlotte. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

workshop braveworks

Upstairs, you’ll find the workshop, where women learn how to make jewelry out of materials from all over the world. This is where they graduate into artisans. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

braveworks logo

In the new logo, the B and W are stitched together— to represent the physical and metaphorical aspects of the artisans working. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

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