An Artist's Dream - Cause Driven Art to Help Stop Human Trafficking
I have always loved creating art and making things. I started a handmade greeting card company in 2004 and designed and manufactured the cards in our little studio for over 300 wholesale customers. I absolutely loved the design and craft aspect of the business but when I became pregnant with our son, I knew that I could no longer devote the countless hours that I once had to the business.
The Call that changed everything
It was bitter-sweet because I was thrilled to welcome a much anticipated new life to our family but I couldn't help but feel a little sadness about the close to such a big chapter in my life until...
They started their organization in 2007 to advocate for exploited people of the world, to educate the public about human trafficking and its prevention, and to be instrumental in providing survivors the means to be reintegrated as valued members of a community.
Purchase with Purpose
One of the most valuable parts of their organization is their "Purchase With Purpose" program. The survivors are trained in the art of jewelry making and their handcrafted goods are then sold in the states through retail outlets, home parties, community events, church functions, craft shows, and in the iSanctuary online boutique to raise funds for each individual in the program.
The survivors not only earn money for their craftsmanship, but the very act of creating a piece of jewelry provides an immeasurable amount of healing. They have something positive and creative in their lives to focus on and a reason to get up and face each day.
A Simple request turns into much more
Wendy had simply called to ask if I might design one or two cards for the organization. Little did she know at the time that my mind was spinning with the idea of the possibility of merging our two entities. After I hung up the phone and talked with my husband we both knew that this could be the perfect partnership. As soon as I shared my thoughts with Wendy and Stephanie, they were on board and everything fell in to place from there. It was a lot of work to complete the merge but we had so many little encouragements along the way that we knew it was the right thing to do. I just KNEW deep in my soul that this was the reason that I started the company in the first place.
After months of meetings, training, crafting, organizing, and coffee drinking, we completed the merge in May 2009. Much to my delight, there is now a team of volunteer crafters in Orange County who hand make my greeting card designs for this wonderful cause. One day we would love for the survivors themselves to make the cards but they have their hands full at the moment with the beautiful jewelry they create. For now, just knowing that the proceeds from my handmade greeting card sales go to iSanctuary brings me so much joy. I love that I can continue to design prototypes for iSanctuary and that my art is literally helping people. I think that is every artist's dream. To be able to help another person through your work is as fulfilling as it gets for an artist.
My name is Tori Higa and I believe in the value of "crafting for health" weather you are physically making something with your own hands or creating something to help those in need. To see more of my work, please feel free to visit my website and blog.
To learn more about International Sanctuary, visit their website, blog, and online boutique. Tori Higa Stationery for iSanctuary can currently be found at Kate's Paperie in New York as well as other specialty stores across the country.
GIVE AWAY: In honor of the Craft For Health Website and it's wonderfully inspiring stories, I am giving away 12 assorted greeting cards (handmade with vintage fabric) including birthday, new home, thank you, everyday, Christmas, and Valentines to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment in this post to become eligible for the random drawing.