You’ll often hear me talk about the importance of having a strong “WHY”. Your why is your purpose. It’s what will keep you motivated when you are discouraged. It will be your rock to lean on when things get tough. And it’s what will keep you grounded when you soar.
Many of you may know this story already but for those who don’t; this is my “WHY”:
Back in 2004 I was 20 years old living in Los Angeles attending the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising; one evening while working on a school project a documentary came on the television about sex tourism and the exploitation of children.
Call me naive but this was something I had no idea happened in the world. There on the television were girls as young as 4 and 5 years old offering men oral sex. My baby sister was the same age as these little girls at the time; this hit me like a ton of bricks. I was devastated. Heartbroken. Shattered. I cried so many tears for those little girls. Tears of regret that I couldn’t save them. Tears for the betrayal they have suffered.
Why wasn’t anyone protecting them?
How did this even happen?
From there I fell into a rabbit hole that I couldn’t get out of. I started researching questions that had no answers.
It's something that has stuck with me every day of my life.
Fast-forward to 2014, I had reached my dream of having a career in the fashion industry; I was Director over the design team for a handbag company, a job I loved at a company I was passionate about. But the thing about dreams, once you reach one, you just have another one that is waiting to be achieved.
That dream was to do something bigger then myself and to truly make an impact. That desire to do more became further intensified after I had my son in late 2014; the urgency to be better and do better for him is what put me into action. He is my “WHY” for taking that leap.
2015 was my year of preparation, my year of enjoying this new role as mom, and my year for figuring out what that bigger thing was going to be. During the course of this year I thought back to that day in 2004 like I often did and I really starting thinking about how I could help shine a light and make a difference for a cause I found so important.
I knew my soul wasn't strong enough to work on the front lines of such heart wrenching situations, that is reserved for the truly special, but there had to be something I could do, so I thought about the things I was good at. I thought about how I could use the resources I had and the talents I posses to make a difference.
And that’s when BARRI Handbags was born.