Over the past couple of years, I’ve gotten to know an amazing woman who lives here in St. Louis, named Jen Owens. Jen founded and runs a non-profit called FORAI whose tagline is “bringing together beauty and opportunity.” The way they do this is by mentoring “refugee and immigrant women as they begin home-based microbusinesses to supplement their incomes through the production of high quality, marketable handicrafts.”
Until last week, FORAI was selling these products at local craft fairs throughout the year. Now – FORAI products are available on-line! To celebrate this huge milestone, they hosted a silent auction and launch party at a popular micro brewery in town, Schlafely Bottleworks.
When Jen told me about this exciting event, I knew that I wanted to contribute in some way, so I offered to donate an embroidered item to the silent auction. The problem? I had no idea what it would be… I thought about embroidering some baby items, but without knowing who would purchase the products, there was no way to personalize them.
Fortunately, a few days before the event I got inspired. I came up with the idea to appliqué a set of baby onesies – one for each month for the first year of a baby’s life. I had seen pictures of friends’ babies on-line wearing these types of onesies but had been told they were just wearing blanks with stickers… Applique would be so much nicer. I had the perfect idea – I was stoked!
After a lot of digitizing and a lot of stitching – I made a set of 6 baby onesies – one for each significant month in the first year: 1 month, 2 months, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months and 1 year. I stitched them out in pastel, gender-neutral seersucker fabric, and O-M-G C-U-T-E.
Because inspiration had struck so late – I was literally running in my donation to the auction, and, of course, Jen was super appreciative. And the event was fantastic as well. It was truly inspiring to meet some of the women who are involved with FORAI.
So what’s next for me and FORAI? Jen mentioned that someone had donated an embroidery machine a few years ago and it was just sitting at her house!! She asked if I could possibly teach them how to use it. Um… yes!