In the summer of 2009, Minka Kelly traveled to Ethiopia and Kenya with our founder Barrett Ward and his wife Rachel, and it was a group that worked with women coming out of the commercial sex industry that captured her heart. What became apparent was that what these women wanted was a new opportunity and to have dignity in their work.
About a year later, fashionABLE was launched in the fall of 2010 and Minka lent her voice. What began with one scarf design quickly grew to many, as the idea of creating beautiful products that also carried a story of providing hope started to spread. We helped the women start their own weaving business and they now employ over 30 women.
And the fashionABLE mission has expanded, too. We now have multiple partners in Ethiopia and in Kenya, with a focus on empowering women from diverse backgrounds. The product line has grown to include leather, jewelry, and home goods in addition to the scarf collection.
Minka wanted to see the growth for herself. So last summer she and Barrett traveled back to where it all started. She was able to visit the original group of women she met, as well as an additional fashionABLE partner who produces most of fashionABLE’s leather line. And during her trip, Minka was inspired to design a new product, with the goal of ultimately creating more opportunity for women.
The result? The Hibret Zippered Pouch.
“Hibret” (ሕብረት) in Amharic, the traditional language of Ethiopia, means collaboration. In that spirit, Minka brought together our skilled scarf weavers to line the inside with a beautiful woven pattern, while the zippered pouch itself is crafted by our leather artisans. Touched by many hands, and impacting many lives, this product ensures that those employed are ABLE to have opportunity, dignity, and hope.
We hope this fashionABLE product will be a beautiful addition both to your style and to the story of real impact that you are telling with your purchase.