by Amy Breitmann, VP of Marketing, Vi Bella Jewelry
Fall seemed so very far away on that June day in the heat of the Haitian sun.
The little girl in the cream and pink dusty shirt smiled and she took our hands almost too easily. She stared at the jewelry we held with inquisitive eyes and I knelt down to show her the work of our artisans, up close. Our brown eyes met and there was a smile shared. I don’t know Creole and she doesn’t know English, but smiles are universal.
She clutched the jewelry tight.
She clutched the leather straps of that necklace and held it up high above the dusty Haitian dirt, like a prize.
That little girl was joined by another, a beautiful child with the pink butterfly shirt. They followed us on the dusty path in that small village of Simonette, Haiti. I mentioned to my friend and coworker, “she’s wearing butterflies.”
Those butterflies were not lost on me: they are a symbol of transformation, and our logo here at Vi Bella Jewelry.
A school bus passed by the Vi Bella center and the children with us did not get on.
The reality of life in Haiti is that rarely do children ride a bus at all. This was a special end-of-the-year trip. If children attend classes it is a privilege. Many walk miles or ride bicycles if they are fortunate enough to have one.
I thought of my own children, how they complained about the daily grind of schooling, and how these precious children with us now just wandered paths. They seemed happy in the wandering. School is possible for our artisans’ children, but not for so many in Haiti.
And it also struck me: She didn’t know that by holding onto that necklace she was holding onto hope.
As we worked that afternoon, a welcomed breeze blew over the open porch that was our workroom. Pieces that were being made for the new fall line.
At the end of the day tears stung my eyes. I knew that heat and rocks, hunger and school buses belonged to Haiti. But that necklace that made a beautiful girl smile, and Vi Bella Jewelry that brought jobs to our artisans came from the United States.
We were in this together.
In that small village in Simonette, Haiti on that too-hot day in June I realized something.
We hadn’t given hope to those girls or to our artisans.
We were making beautiful jewelry that day. But we were making even more beautiful lives.
I began to truly believe something that day, a theme that is now contained in the pages of our new catalog.
Since that trip to Haiti I have worked on catalog layouts and website updates. I have spoken to retailers in Las Vegas and conference organizers in New York. I have cut fabric alongside new friends in Nashville.
As I struggle with words to explain why we sell jewelry and how our new catalog is so beautiful , I have mostly tried to tell the story of the girl with the butterfly shirt on that pile of rocks.
And today is the day that I get to share with you our first “Sneak Peek September” piece that is available for purchase. It’s that very same necklace that was held up high in Haiti. Our full- year 2016 catalog will not launch until October 1st, but we are offering a few pieces this month, in limited quantities.
A smile full of remembrance for a little girl on a pile of rocks, clutching hope in her hands.
Starting today, you can purchase the Charmed Necklace, handmade by Vi Bella artisans in Simonette, Haiti. I love this piece: A key, a wing, a weathered copper charm on a leather strap that tells a story.
A story of redemption.
To purchase your Charmed Necklace, click here. Limited quantities are available. We even have free shipping as a special gift for you, site-wide.
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