GIVEAWAY HAPPENING AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST!
Editor's Note: In order to continue producing Holl & Lane, we rely on amazing partners (who we truly believe in) to run ads within our pages. We're so excited to introduce you to the 10 amazing partners who have allowed us to create Issue 14 for you. We encourage you to dig a little deeper into their stories and learn more about the products and services they create. Without them, we wouldn't be able to keep doing H&L.
1. Why and how did you start your company?
I heard about Sseko last winter was quite intrigued. It's the brain child of Liz Bohannon who has been running full force behind the movement of this company. Her story behind the mission of the company is truly empowering.
I've always been a bit of a skeptic of direct sales companies, but the heartbeat of this company was just too compelling (plus leather shoes and bags, that was a no brainer!). Hearing the stories this diverse community of women (and a handful of men!) from around the world, the dignity they emphasize on creating opportunities to empower these talented women in Uganda, it is rather humbling. Also being a mom of littles and already working part time, I had pleeeenty of spare time on my hands (right?!), so for some crazy reason, the idea of doing my own side business, at my own pace, sounded like a fun challenge. So in May of last year, I ate a big slice of humble pie, signed up to be a Sseko Fellow, and the Kindred Market was born!
2. What is your main mission?
My desire is to help others (and myself) make lasting and sustainable change. Your purchase is more than just a transaction, it's a story that began with someone else and is continuing on with you. It's easy in sales to fixate on numbers, but part of the Sseko mission is quality over quantity. You probably don't need a new purse today, but when yours starts falling apart or you are ready for a different size/style, why not buy one that is genuine leather that lasts? AND that money goes to help a woman in Uganda be paid a living wage, have access to healthcare, and go college? Your purse is no longer just a purse…
The same goes for sandals, I can't tell you how many cheap ones I’ve bought each year that start tearing up by mid summer! It's wonderful having some versatile pieces that are built to last and comfortable from the first day of use.
3. How do you hope your brand affects women’s lives?
As much as I can gripe about my life as an American woman, I know nothing of what it's like in a country where 70% of women live at or below the poverty line. Where education, basic rights, and even a dignified job are limited because of my gender. That's not ok. I'm learning the importance of using my privilege as a platform to hopefully bring about increasing the opportunities for women who do not have those options, to create a better world for them so someday they can have access to the same rights and opportunities that I do (or better!).
In my present season of life, it's been pretty easy to feel disconnected from feeling like I'm making any impact on the world outside of my suburban bubble. It's easy to look back on previous seasons of life when I felt like there was so much opportunity and I had so much time to invest in meaningful experiences. In talking to a number of peers, I know I'm not alone in this feeling. I hope the impact of a seemingly simple purchase can inspire others to find more and more little ways to make an impact in the world around them and beyond.
4. We love what Sseko does to empower women in Uganda! Can you tell us more about how you're creating opportunity and community for women globally?
I don't know if any of this could go first without talking about Liz and Ben Bohannon- the owners of Sseko. They have worked beyond tirelessly for over 8 years to get this company off the ground and keep it running. Their desire in switching from boutique sales to direct sales was to keep the story and mission of Sseko at the forefront of the products and to make an opportunity for women here in the states to be impact entrepreneurs. I'm a very tiny piece of this process in just hoping to be a sandal evangelist as so to speak and help get the word out there about Sseko and other companies likewise that are seeking to create ethical and sustainable fashion items.
Not only do we hope to create products that women love to use, but also one that will hopefully inspire others to be part of this narrative. When you receive a Sseko item, we can tell you the women in Uganda at the workshop who helped create your piece. You are now connected not only to them, but to the supplier of the materials, the wonderful admin team at the Portland office, and with the community of Sseko Fellows and Friends! I hope this fosters a world that is more thoughtful about the kindredness we share.
One of my favorite ways to share Sseko is by hosting pop-up parties at my house, usually with another woman involved in her own small business. The best part of these gatherings? The connections and conversations made, just by giving space for women to gather and not only talk about meaningful things, but to share opportunities to join tangible platforms already making a difference.
5. What are your favorite must-have items from the current collection at the Kindred Market?
Oh man...that's an awful question to ask! Do you have a favorite child?!
Here are my top 5 current go-tos:
The safari bucket bag is classic. It ages so beautifully over time and has the most amazing leather smell. I can use it for work with my laptop and a gazillion other notes and books or switch it out as a diaper bag for my toddler.
It's a bit cold, but I will wear sandals as long as I can get them. I'm a short gal so I love my black wedge ribbon sandal- they go with me to work, the grocery store, and on trips. With a simple change of a ribbon and tie (over 50+ ways) they can match just about everything!
This season they have some beautiful jewelry pieces and my new fave is these brass bar earrings and necklace. I've had so many people stop to compliment them. They are simple in structure but make a really lovely statement.
And because it is sweater weather, the sofi wool shawl...I didn't know what I was missing on high end wool goodness! It's so soft and warm but still breathable.
Finally, for those #heforshe's out there, the new slim wallet is not only at a great price point, but also looks sharp! My husband's pretty picky and he loves it (plus the smell is so rich and earthy!)...he's also not the kind of guy to use it just because I bought it for him. It's currently only available in our holiday collection, but fingers crossed that it will be available in upcoming seasons too!
One grand prize winner will receive a Sseko leather Tiko Tote, a Sseko Brave bracelet, a copy of Holl & Lane's "The Heart" issue (14), a seasonal skein of hand dyed yarn by High-Strung Spectra, and a bag of coffee from our friends at Mad Priest Coffee Roasters AND we'll send a Sseko Brave Bracelet and a print copy of Holl & Lane's "The Heart issue (14) to the friend of your choice!
To enter: Fill out the giveaway entry form on our homepage. Of course we'd love you to follow us (and Holl & Lane!) on our various platforms, but that's it! Pay it forward and show the world some love today!