Celebrating Inspirational Women

By: Terisa Brooks-Huddleston, Founder/Owner @ Our Hands For Hope

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April showers bring May flowers and just in time for Mother’s Day. As we move into this season of honoring our mothers, at Our Hands For Hope we will be celebrating inspirational women in our lives by showcasing the strength, dignity, wisdom, support, love, comfort and creativity that defines women.

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We all hold images and memories of humorous, sentimental, empowering, and introspective moments we’ve had with women who inspire us. Throughout the month of May we will be celebrating women of all types, mothers, daughters, sisters, grandmothers, aunts, nieces and friends.

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We’ll be posting ways we applaud womanhood, from artistic expressions of female artists, humorous tales of fond memories, to the stories about changed lives and new adventures.

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We want you to share your memories and moments with us as well. Send us a blurb or a brief story about a woman you would like to honor, we would love a picture to attach to it too! Share your ideas, art, quotes and stories about the women in your life, so we can all celebrate together.

 

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We will be having two giveaway gift drawings for those of you who participate.

One will be announced on May 10th and the other on May 31st, 2014.

So get those notes sent….we are so excited to honor WOMANHOOD with you!

How to send us your story:
Email us at: info@OurHandsForHope.com
Please keep your story to around 300 words or less.
You’re welcome to post directly onto our Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/OurHandsForHope
Instagram: www.instagram.com/ourhandsforhope @ourhandsforhope
Twitter: www.twitter.com/ourhandsforhope @ourhandsforhope
Hashtag: #InspirationalWomen

 

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Our Hands for Hope Pop Up Shop

by Alicia Fischer, Communications @ Our Hands For Hope

Over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, we set up shop at the CornerStone Sonoma along highway 121 in Sonoma, California. We were stationed at Potter Green & Co showing our knits in all their wonderful colors, displaying how to wear them, and telling the story of how  they are created and brought to you straight from Peru.

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There was a great response to the event, and even made a second appearance the next day! Check out some photos around the beautiful CornerStone Sonoma and see how our knits blend in beautifully to complement the scenery.

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Terisa manning our table and telling the history of our knits.

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Some great shots of Tom, who works with Nina, owner at Potter Green, showing off how his personal style blends with some of our knits.

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Want us to host a pop up shop in your area? Get in touch with us if you think your community would benefit from some soft and cozy alpaca knitwear for this chilly winter season.

Happy Holidays, and stay warm!

After the Harvest Comes the Chill

By Alicia Fischer, Communications Director

Harvest in the valley is a wonderful time of year. People come together to pick their crops, press the grapes, and reap the benefits of the year’s production. The air is filled with a hint of vinegar as the new grapes ferment, and workers, families, and friends come together to celebrate another successful season.

Depending on what you’re going for, harvest time can range from September until November. In Napa Valley, harvest time is usually warm, with the sun setting earlier and clinging to the last days of summer before things start to cool down. After the harvest comes the chill, and this year we are fully prepared for when the fog rolls in and blankets the vines in its soft, dewy mist.

Sounds like it’s time to bundle up and get cozy! Check out our knits that are perfect for snuggling into winter. Bring on the cold!

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Nautical Knits by the Bay

By: Alicia Fischer, Communications @ Our Hands For Hope

This summer marks America’s Cup in San Francisco.
With the city in full force supporting the art of sailing, Our Hands for Hope has been nautically inspired for this season’s knits.

Check out our new nautical knits that are perfect for a weekend getaway at sea or simply sitting watch as the ships set sail.

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WWIN: Women’s Wear In Nevada

Today begins the WWIN (Women’s Wear In Nevada) Fashion Mart in Las Vegas.

Looking forward to those new store orders to come rolling in.

Stop by and visit us at the Rio Hotel, in the Miranda room, booth M809.

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Tell Ron the Rep and staff “Hi” for us!

Press: Showcasing at Fashion Market Northern California

We’re in the press!

This last month we had the privilege of attending and showcasing at the Fashion Market Northern California in San Mateo. We met some great people, made lasting connections, wrote orders for some fantastic new stores and got to show more people the talent behind Our Hands for Hope. Read below to see the full article that was in the California Apparel News.

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Steady Regional Business at FMNC for Established Brands and New Resources

By Sarah Wolfson | Thursday, June 27, 2013

SAN MATEO, Calif.—Business was steady and productive at Fashion Market Northern California, held June 23–25 at the San Mateo County Event Center.The regional trade show served as a showcase for returning and new brands, including several with a sustainable or philanthropic message, according to FMNC Executive Director Suzanne De Groot.

OPEN PLAN: FMNC's open-booth floor plan makes it easy for buyers to preview the collection.

June markets, which typically showcase Holiday merchandise, tend to be smaller but bring in loyal buyers looking for Immediate deliveries and necessity goods.

Don Reichman, an exhibitor at FMNC, said this is an important market particularly because it falls between the large LA shows in March for Fall and in October for Spring. Reichman is treasurer of the Golden Gate Apparel Association (GGAA), which organizes the FMNC show.

Northern California stores can come to the June FMNC show to fill in orders for Holiday. Retailers from Northern California, Oregon, Washington and Colorado came to the show, particularly because it is easy to shop, he said.

Napa Valley, Calif.–based retailer Barbara Wiggins of Mustard Seed described FMNC as more convenient for her than other markets. “I love this show. You can find it all, and everyone is so nice. I am shopping for an annual fashion-show fundraiser for Queen of the Valley Medical Center and looking to find pieces specifically for the event, knowing I will find it all here,” Wiggins said.

Steve Alpert, president of GGAA, said when he asks retailers why they attend the show, feedback is always consistent. “It is the friendliest show to attend, and that has become a theme for us,” he said, crediting the open-booth format and the quality of vendors.

“Exhibitors know not to push buyers, so retailers are treated with respect,” Alpert said.

Returning exhibitor Gabriela Shultz of Adorn Thyself showroom in San Francisco said although the first two days were steady, the last day of the show typically was “jamming.” Shultz carries brands such as American Colors, a collection of tunic shirts in a range of fabrications that wholesale for $79–$95.

Myrrhia Resneck, owner of Myrrhia Fine Knitwear, was a first-time FMNC exhibitor who released her collection in February 2012. Her merchandise—which ranges from sweaters to cardigans, scarves, dresses and tops—comes in merino wool, organic California-grown cotton and Tencel. Wholesale price points for accessories start at $20 and go up to $40 while garments range from $60 to $130.

“I would love for my designs to speak for themselves, but [being eco-friendly] is a part of my own concern,” Resneck said. “I want to produce apparel in a sustainable and ethical manner.” Resneck said she wants to make clothes that help women succeed in their professional careers while helping them still express their individuality and not be in some kind of uniform.

By the second day of the show, her expectations were met. Resneck said she established new relationships with boutique owners and landed several orders. The Oakland, Calif.–based apparel brand participated in FMNC because it was the most cost-effective approach, and after attending, she said, “Everyone was supportive, and the organizers were [equally] committed in making sure everyone is successful at the show. There is almost a community here.”

Global reach

Several exhibitors at FMNC were showing hand-crafted apparel and accessories from companies with a humanitarian mission.

Napa Valley–based apparel company Our Hands for Hope produces apparel and accessories hand-knit in Peru.

Founded by Terisa Brooks-Huddleston, the company was created in partnership with two non-governmental organizations (NGOs), Creation Peru and New Hope International, according to Cinthya Rubio, Our Hands for Hope’s marketing specialist.

While Huddleston is responsible for 90 percent of the design process, it is a collaboration between the designer and the knitters. All of the pieces are named after the Peruvian women. The company currently employs 60 people in Peru but is expanding.

“It is a fair-trade business,” Rubio said, adding that everything is made-to-order. “We try to make the process as efficient as possible, and, so far, it has been working.”

Each piece is made from Alpaca with some wool and acrylic blends to keep the shape of the item. Large blankets can wholesale up to $174 while a headband wholesales for much lower.

Our Hands for Hope primarily retails to local specialty boutiques but recently landed an order with the Denver International Airport. “We pulled a lot people in here at market because they are attracted to our [brand] story,” Rubio said.

Sasa Designs jewelry is produced by a team of deaf artisans in Kenya under the direction of a nonprofit organization that invests its profits into services for the deaf. Sasa provides training, administration and a workshop where the jewelry makers can work independently. Wholesale price points for the delicately beaded necklaces and bracelets range between $4 and $20.

“We try and minimize our external influence to focus on sales and marketing and a bit of management, but our main focus is empowering these women,” said Megan MacDonald, Sasa’s director of global enterprise. “Our motto is to create timeless pieces that we can update season to season with color and materials so we are not retraining every time we produce a new line. Most of what I do is putting colors and concepts together versus complete redesign. So the wire techniques that are used in the new line are a reflection of trying to bring a little of Kenya in everything we do.”

MacDonald, who splits her time between Kenya and California, was upbeat about the buyer response at FMNC. “It has been great here at market,” she said. “Although it started slow, I picked up new vendors in diverse locations. I don’t want to saturate a particular town.”

Partners Cynthia Carle and Elaine Aronson of Oofkas make cuffs to accessorize a jacket or an outfit. A portion of their sales goes to Girls Learn International, an organization that encourages education around the world, including India, Pakistan and Africa. The Los Angeles–based company offers three styles, ranging from basic denim and gray to flashier versions, wholesale priced from $12.50 to $19.50.

Carle and Aronson showed their line at the MAGIC trade show in Las Vegas earlier this year but said it was too overwhelming. “This [show] is much smaller and very friendly,” Carle said.