Friendly Friday: Teysha

Behind every person, every company, every product—there is a story. Stories of success, failure, disappointment, joy, hard work, and adventure, these stories shape us into the beings that we are and bring life to the products that we purchase. Yep, I said it, stories bring life to products - and I fully believe that! One of the things I love about companies who seek to change the world, is that every product has an ongoing story. With ESPEROS, the story unfolds the second you buy a bag. When you carry an ESPEROS bag you carry hope, knowing that the money from your purchase gets us one step closer making sure every child has access to quality education in the world. 

Other times, if you're lucky, the story begins even before the purchase of a product—like with our friends over at Teysha

Each one of Teysha’s beautifully detailed, hand crafted boots are made outside of Antigua, Guatemala by artisans who bring their own traditions, designs, and systems into the art of boot making. Starting with the fundamental fabric materials, all the way to the finished product, Teysha shoes are all locally and regionally sourced. From the leather made by a local woman-owned business, to shoe laces, eyelets, labels, brands and textiles, your Teysha shoes will travel through the hands of at least a dozen Guatemalans before they reach your feet! Talk about a product that has a STORY, each shoe is a chain reaction of empowerment in itself. 

                           

Teysha shoes are socially responsible, ethically made, and look good. They have custom boots, sandals, hats, belts, even pillows - all made by their friends in Guatemala and brought to the United States. 

Your Guate Boots come with a tag, signed by the artisan who worked directly on your pair. I would challenge you to take this name a step further and inquire to know about the artisans life. It can be incredibly rewarding to personalize the face behind your product, and know the difference you are making in someone's life across the globe. You can match the artisan's name with their story on the Teysha webpage here.

Companies like Teysha don't merely exist to sell a product, because a shoe on its own is no different from the million other pair of boots you could buy down the street. It's the story of freedom and empowerment behind the product that breathes life and propels us to be apart of the change. Carry their story with you as you wear a pair of Teysha shoes--be apart of the change. 

 

Written by Grace Mueller

Spring 2015 Intern 

Wildcard Wednesday: Change in Cambodia

Last Saturday, Austin's Harvest Mission Community Church hosted an event called Liberty Cafe, where we got to be apart of some pretty cool change that’s benefiting people all the way in Cambodia.

Thanks to Allyson Szatny for her recap of the night! 

"Sound of Hope for the first time. It was a night of music, food, socializing, and community art. Their main goal was to raise donations for XP Missions in Cambodia, who are currently fighting child trafficking and providing care for those rescued. Local business ESPEROS bags jumped onboard and donated great products to sell for the cause! Their logo "Carry Hope" perfectly fit the shared vision of a better world for all children. The event successfully raised awareness and funds over $2,500! (still calculating this number) 100% of these funds will be sent overseas to support the amazing cause. The church is so encouraged by this true partnership!"

 

                      

 

How incredible it is to be apart of something bigger than us. Safe wishes to those traveling to Cambodia, you are bolder than many. We can't wait to hear about the trip! 

 

Written by Grace Mueller

Spring 2015 Intern

 

Monday Muses: Lily Cummings

Today our muse is Lily Cummings, a phenomenal artist who's passion for photography radiates through every piece of her work. Lily has worked with some amazing publications including Catalogue Magazine, Remix Magazine, Oyster Magazine, Fashion Quarterly and Glassbook Magazine. She has also photographed some of the fashion industry's top models like Georgia Pratt, Ashley GrahamEleni Tsavousis, Jess King, and Inga Eiriksdottir. There will be zero questions why she is our inspiration for the day after reading her words--she is talented beyond her years and we have a feeling she will never stop creating masterpieces.

(Lily sitting with her Bourbon Classic Backpack)

Lily, what kind of artist are you?

I get nervous calling myself an artist. I am a photographer and filmmaker. Sometimes I am able capture the truth, other times I construct it.  

Where do you call home?

Brooklyn is my home, but I am a Mainer at heart. When people ask where I'm from, I can't help but always say Maine.

What gets you inspired?

Oh so many things! I am a bit manic, and my creativity is constantly being jolted by interesting and beautiful people, striking architecture, cinematic light. Sound is incredibly important to my interpretation of visuals and to my sense of interaction with an environment where I'm shooting. If I'm in a creative rut, I'll watch old movies from some of the more surrealist filmmakers such as Fellini, AntonioniChytilová...

What does "carry hope" mean to you?

I think it's about holding on to positive energy and passing it along from one person to the next. Keeping the good juju flowing, in all of its manifestations. 

Who inspires you? 

The amazing people that I photograph. I cannot emphasize enough how wonderful it is to have a conversation with the characters that come through my door and then get to take their photograph. There is such a level of trust and responsibility. I am in awe of how beautiful and interesting some of these people have been. Their insights broaden my scope on humanity, and I am constantly being pushed to test my own beliefs and engage on a completely honest level.

Is education important? Do you think it always comes in the form of formal training?

Education is such a broad term. Education through experience--absolutely. Formal training is important when you are using expensive and complicated tools. But everything I know specifically about digital photography has been mostly self-taught. Then again, I would love to learn more and that might come from a class or two. To each his or her own, I suppose. 

Hobbies, random talents, near dead experiences?

I try to travel as much as possible, and I often travel alone. The quiet solitude of standing alone in the middle of somewhere vast and unknown brings me a sense of spirituality I often have trouble connecting to in my daily life. Because I feel like I'm working 24/7, I often don't take the time to reflect on how far I've come and where I'm going. 

The first moment I truly felt a sense of success was at the end of a trip to Europe last fall. I had a layover in Oslo so I decided to take the train into the city and found myself standing at the top of the Opera House at sunset. It was cold. Very very cold. And the wind whipped my hair all over the place and threw my scarf into the air. Incredibly dramatic save that I was all alone. The stone steps were icy and there were not many who bothered make their way to the top. 

As I stood there, I had an overwhelming sense of calm and gratitude. With hard work and large doses of luck, I'd found myself in this quiet moment, in this beautiful place, and I was incredibly happy. Not a near-death experience. But certainly an, "If I died now, it would be okay" kind of moment. 

(Lily in her Brooklyn studio with her Bourbon Classic Backpack)

Lily will have a book coming out this fall entitled "The Women in My Room". You should follow her work at www.lilycummings.com, and her on Instagram @lililand

 

~ Happy Monday, everyone! ~

 

Written by Grace Mueller

Spring 2015 Intern

Friendly Friday: The Little Market

there were two girls named Lauren Conrad and Hannah Skvarla who both had a fiery passion for improving the lives of women. They traveled to El Salvador, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nepal, Tanzania, and Uganda—all over the globe—and dreamt about how they could support the highly talented artisan women they met along their journey. Women who were designing magnificent treasures, but simply lacked a thriving market to sell their incredible products in. They needed some type of space where they could sell their goods to large numbers of people, and the Little Market was born!

Lauren and Hannah co-founded the Little Market a little over a year ago to create a gathering place for the community to support artisans around the world who were creating unique treasures that deserved to be shared. The Little Market operates as a social enterprise, combining business and social justice to maximize social /economic impact on partnering artisans and their communities. Through community development, employing women under fair trade principles and fair wages, providing a safe workplace and healthy working environments for the artisans, the Little Market has profoundly made a sustainable impact on little markets and real people all over the world.

From accessories, to baskets, to blankets, candles and other home decor — its the socially conscious store that never ends, in the best way. Whatever the occasion (*mothers day soon*), this is your fair trade one-stop-shop.

Check out their Instagram here, or head over to their blog to see what the Little Market is up to throughout the week. There are hundreds of unseen, little markets across the globe, waiting to be discovered--discover them through The Little Market.

 Written by Grace Mueller

Spring 2015 Intern 

Wildcard Wednesday: What ESPEROS is Made Of

As the common saying goes: if you can't pronounce it - it’s probably harmful. At ESPEROS, we not only value products that are made ethically, but also products that are made without any harmful dies, materials or substances. So, those 4-aminodiphenyl, Benzidine, 4-chlor-o-toluidine, and p-chloranilin chemicals that you have been stressing about....worry no more! Our bags were tested arsenic, lead, silicon, aluminum and zirconium free. 

                              

 

At the end of the day, this just means that we carefully craft our bags to be eco-friendly and as safe as possible. Made with military grade canvas material, we fashioned our bags to last the test of time, over and over again. It is important to us that you feel our bag is protecting your health while also providing education to kids who need it most. So rest easy at night, knowing that those Xylidine chemicals aren't following you around; your ESPEROS bag is made with healthy, safe and high quality materials! 

 

 

 

 

Written by Grace Mueller

Spring Intern 2015

Monday Muses: Malia Grace Mau

Today we are inspired by artist Malia Grace Mau! Malia has been in the jewelry making business for quite some time now, collecting beads and creating pieces from her mom's vintage jewelry since she was 12 years old. Each piece of her jewelry is carved by hand and made from recycled metal in Los Angeles. You might recognize Malia's work from our previous blog post on Jessica Mau! (Yes, they are sisters and yes, they are the coolest sisters around).

M. Grace Jewelry 

Hey Malia. Lets start simple: what kind of artist are you?

I am a jewelry designer. I carve little sculptures out of wax. I would say that is my art at the moment!

Where do you call home?
I call Topanga canyon and the north shore of Kauai home. Me and my boyfriend travel back and forth between the two places.

 

                  

What gets you inspired?

I get inspired by nature, rock formations, plants,the desert, mountains etc. I also get inspired by crafts done in the old way. Textiles, pottery, block printing, jewelry making to name a few. 

What does "carry hope" mean to you?

To me when I hear "carry hope" I think about an idea spreading from one person to the next, influencing people in a positive way.

Who inspires you? 

I am inspired by Georgia O'Keeffe at the moment. 

Is education important? Do you think it always comes in the form of formal training?

I think education is very important but I don't believe it has to come in the traditional/ formal sense in a classroom. I think you can learn by traveling, by watching your elders and by experience. Also by not being afraid to take risks and falling and getting back up again. 

Favorite ESPEROS bag? 

I love the khaki classic back pack in yellow! 

Hobbies, random talents, near death experiences?

Some hobbies of mine are vintage hunting, interior design, cooking, rock collecting, learning about herbs and animal spirit cards!

       

 

 

Check out Malia's incredible jewelry at mgracejewelry.com, and follow her for more inspiration @mgracejewelry

In the meantime, have a happy Mau Mustache Monday : ) 

 

Written by Grace Mueller

Spring Intern 2015

Friendly Friday: Mitscoots

If you live in Austin, TX, you have seen and experienced the number of people who call the streets home. In fact, if you live anywhere in the United States, then you surely have encountered one of the 610,042 individuals who were homeless in January of 2013. This number represents real people, people who for any number of reasons have a barrier to housing. From domestic violence, substance abuse, lack of affordable housing, mental illness or lost jobs—we live in a broken kind of world that cant be solved with one simple solution. Within homelessness alone, one might look at the issue and think that it is hopeless, that there’s nothing we can contribute to undue the millions of people who are without a home. 

But…that is where we are wrong. There is no deed too small, people! Even the smallest “something” means everything to someone who has nothing. And for our friends over at Mitscoots—that “something” is socks!

Since 2008, Mitscoots has helped transition men and women out of homelessness by giving them work, fair wages, and warm socks.  For every pair of socks that you buy, Mitscoots gives a pair to a person in need and employs the less fortunate along the way! 

Give + Get + Employ

 

Mitscoots socks are made 100% in the USA, manufactured in North Carolina and packaged in Austin, TX. These socks last because they are designed for individuals who absolutely depend on them lasting. Though they are solely in Austin at the moment…Mitscoots is dreaming and working towards opening small packing facilities in metropolitan cities across the United States. The more they grow…the more individuals who are employed, and the less feet that are cold. 

Who knew socks could combat homelessness in such a real way?! Everyone loves a good pair of socks…and I think we just found our new favorites. Sign up for their newsletter here to get 20% off of your next pair of Mitscoots socks! If you're tired of reading my words, check out their sock blog for stories and updates about the growth and impact of Mitscoots. Their instagram is killer too (@mitscoots).

And to the team at Mitscoots, thank you for your vision to end homelessness. It takes real commitment to tackle an issue as pervasive as homelessness is, but hear us when we say that you're changing lives. There are a whole lot of people who are better off because of your commitment to make a difference! It just goes to show...there is no problem too big. Who knows, maybe one day we will tell our great, great grandchildren about this thing called "homelessness," and how the road to its extinction all started with a pair of socks...

 

 

Written by Grace Mueller

Spring 2015 Intern

Wildcard Wednesday: Summer Dream Reads

Retweet, Dr. Seuss. Retweet. At ESPEROS, we really believe that reading is fundamental and fun-ducational for those who seek to continue their education, even after mandatory college readings (RIP English Lit). From serious reads, to some not so serious reads, it doesn't matter what you’re reading as long as you’re learning! Here are a few office favorites to add to your summer reading list...(& if you don't have a summer reading list - this is your chance to start one!)

 

 

 

For adventure -->
Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery 

 

For whimsy -->
Love Does by Bob Goff

 

 

 

  

 

For a profound read -->
Walking on Water by Madeline L'Engle
 
For love -->
Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

 

 

Written by Grace Mueller

Spring 2015 Intern 

Monday Muses: Seek Wander Share

Jennifer Harding and Melissa Rivera are the creators and co-founders of Seek Wander Share, a lifestyle blog based out of the greatest city (ATX, holla) where they share adventures, experiences and dreams through travel, food, art, culture, & community. Their love for what they do shines through every part of the Seek Wander Share blog, and they carry hope in more ways than one! More than your average blog, Jennifer and Melissa seek to provide socially conscious businesses with a platform to share their mission and products with the world. We are infinitely thankful for the opportunity to work and talk with them!

 

Hey Melissa and Jennifer! So, explain what you guys do.

Melissa: By day, I work in sales at a travel company. By night, I focus on my passion, fashion and beauty. I'm able to express my love of all things fashion on my Austin based blog, Seek Wander Share, that I co-founded with my best friend and partner in crime, Jennifer. 

Jennifer: I work as a Reporting Analyst for a small Tech start up in downtown Austin. It's challenging, exciting and a lot of fun. I also co-founded Seek Wander Share with Melissa! 

What does Carry Hope mean to you?

Melissa: Carry hope means opportunity. It's helping others in need who may not have as much as you and giving with an open heart. 

Jennifer: Carry Hope to me means not giving up on yourself and your ability to continue to grow, adapt, learn, better yourself and share with others.

Do you think education is important? 

Melissa: Absolutely! Knowledge is key to discovery and innovation! The more time you focus on education and learning, the more opportunities become available to you. 

Jennifer: Education has always been very important to me and my family. For years my dad put on a golf fundraiser, The Becky Harding Golf Tournament, to raise money for scholarships for kids with dreams of college and education. It's something that incredibly important to me and is very near to my heart.

Why do you like ESPEROS products?

Melissa: First and foremost, they're stylish and functional. Second, who wouldn't be a fan of a company that gives back to helping children gain an education? It's that's simple! 

Jennifer: Honestly, when I wear my ESPEROS backpack around town, either to hike the green belt or go to the office, I feel way cooler than I usually am.

Where would you use an ESPEROS bag? 

Melissa: Seriously...everywhere. I carry the tote to work, meetings, gym, beach, farmers market...you name it! I also wore the Classic backpack to SXSW 2015 and it was the perfect carry all bag. It was super comfortable, light weight and durable. 

Jennifer: I take my backpack with me to work, when I ride my bike down to Deep Eddys or hiking around town. I can see myself packing a blanket and snacks for blues on the green or movies in the park this summer, really anywhere.

What makes the brand unique enough that you are interested in sharing our story? 

Melissa: With a mission to provide an education to an underprivileged child, there is nothing more important than nurturing a developing mind -  it creates opportunities for individuals to dream BIG! 

Jennifer: I find that alot of people recognize a need to do something …but to actually do it is incredibly inspiring and exciting. It's the kind of stuff we should be sharing and talking to our friends about because it's meaningful and propels everyone else into action too.

What drives your creativity? Melissa: My creativity is driven by all the beauty that surrounds me. I love to sit outside, soak up the sun, be one with my thoughts and the ideas just come flowing. 

Jennifer: I've always been creative. I think my creativity comes from wanting to embrace connections. Connections with the world, with the things I see around me, the people I meet, the people I don't meet. For me, creativity is about capturing that connection or moment of feeling connected to more than just myself.

Tell us something unique about yourself?

Melissa: Living in Austin means I have a love of two things: queso and fitness. Seems a bit contradictory but I love to try new fitness routines and, as a reward to myself, I eat queso! 

Jennifer: My hobbies are the blog! Seek Wander Share is a labor of love, and I wouldn't exactly call working out a hobby as much as I would "necessary torture.” Perhaps late night online shopping? Does that count as a hobby?

 

 They also featured our Burgundy Classic and our Jackson Everyday as the SXSW "it" bag ! #honored

 

 

Thanks for chatting with us, Melissa and Jennifer. We can't wait to see what kind of adventure you find yourself on next - take us with you anytime! If there is one thing we love to do, its carry hope and find adventure. Follow these guys on Instagram @seekwandershare / Pinterest / or like them on Facebook

 

 

Happy Monday & stay rad - 

Written by Grace Mueller

Spring 2015 Intern 

April 06, 2015 by Oliver Shuttlesworth

Friendly Friday: Warby Parker

703 million people.  

This is the number of people in the world who currently need their vision restored. For 703 million individuals, the most basic activities are difficult, trying and frustrating. Even more, 90% of these 703 million live in the developing world, and simply cant afford or don't have access to quality eye wear. Children are less productive in school and workers become less efficient in vision-demanding professions, affecting their ability to earn a living and support a family. All because they cannot see clearly.

Enter Warby Parker

Warby Parker is a socially conscious business (#friendlyfriday) who promises that with every pair of their glasses sold, they will donate a pair to an individual suffering from loss of sight in the developing world. Though this BOGO business model would be incredible on its own, Warby Parker really gets sustainability and takes their solution a step further by empowering entire communities. Warby Parker partners with VisionSpring to train men and women in developing countries to give eye exams and sell glasses to their communities at affordable prices. Not only are the "sellers" gaining employment and earning fair wages, they sell high-quality glasses that are affordable and offer clear sight to their entire community. 

To this day, Warby Parker & Vision Spring have distributed over a million pairs of glasses to people in need and trained over 18,000 men & women in over 35 countries to date. No big deal…(its a huge deal). Just one pair of glasses has the power to increase an individuals productivity by 35% and increase monthly income by 20%—multiply this by one million! Big things are happening in the developing world because of Warby Parker's dedication to providing eye sight for those who need it most.

             

And the most lovely surprise: you would never look at a pair of their glasses and think that they are doing so much good. No burlap, tribal pattern, or any other sign that screams “I AM A SOCIALLY GOOD” product. These babies are sweet. Optical lenses AND sunwear, double whammy. For the hipsters, the classy, the geeks, the near/far-sighted, and everyone who lives in a place where the sun shines (sorry Seattle)…check ‘em out! 

And when you buy a pair, feel dang good about it. Because you’re changing the world! 

 

 

Written by Grace Mueller

Spring 2015 Intern