I have always been all about relationships.  Making friends.   Wasting time together doing nothing.  Hearing her story.  Grabbing coffee.  Laughing and crying together.  Going deep.

I’ve also been all about creating beauty.  Bringing flowers in from the garden, designing homes, practicing making the perfect bow.  Garage sale-ing for unique treasures. Painting. Styling. Sewing.  All the things that go into  creating a home that invites others to find comfort.

Through a trip to Ethiopia, my heart was stirred up.  I was captured by the beauty of the people and their joy while living in some of the harshest circumstances.  They so desired to provide for their family, and yet their need for dignified work that paid fairly was so prevalent.

I went home with a nagging tension between my privileged western life and the needs of the majority of the world.  I couldn’t shake it.  I started asking “how can I reconcile these seemingly opposing issues – people in poverty and beautiful design?”

Not long after this my younger sister, Jeaneen, was diagnosed with a brain tumor.  It was the bad kind.  So despite all the best doctors and intensive treatments, it took over her body.

Going through such a tragic loss caused me to look at life through different lenses.  I wanted my life to count beyond being a successful designer.  And so the tension grew.

Then something happened. As I read a magazine article about businesswomen and how they were impacting the world, I began to shake to the core. An unexplainable sensation washed over me. One of the women in the article, Jessica Honeggar of Noonday Collection, was changing women’s lives by importing their handmade jewelry and selling it in the US. I was bursting with excitement!! Why couldn’t I do the same thing but with home decor pieces?  It was a lightning bolt moment for me and the beginning of a marriage between beautiful design and dignified work.

Eiley