Written by Kate Curry
As a company founded by a pretty badass woman entrepreneur, we love being able to bring attention to the strong women in our community. From our employees, to our artisans, our customers, and our partners - we are so lucky to be surrounded by women who positively impact our day-to-day lives.
With International Women's Day coming up, we'd like to share the stories of a few of the incredible women in our lives!
Zelda, who we here at DGY know as Zee Zee, is a talented fiber artist, pattern creator, and yarn-lover. Queen of YouTube yarn unboxing and creator of the coolest crafting tutorials, Zee is always a fun and energetic person to talk to. Every time a video or message from her pops up, it makes our day a little better!
Another incredible entrepreneur that we're lucky to know is Lorraine Toth. Author, business owner, model, photographer, baker - there's nothing that Lorraine can't do! We're so lucky to have someone like Lorraine to model our handmade products and share her art and her sparkling personality with our community!
Some of the most important relationships we have are with our artisans. The vast majority of our artisans around the world are women. Across the world, women are discriminated against and those women have to fight and persevere to claim the rights and dignity that many of women in the western world have freely. Women are seen as second class citizens in many cultures. This causes women to be discriminated against and need to rely on men to survive in their society. Women that fight discrimination can face punishment, such as being outcaste, jailed, or murdered.
We are proud to offer a helping hand to women around the world. Our co-ops offer women safe, dignified, and year-round work that can help them achieve their dreams and fight generational poverty and gender discrimination.
Bi Shannaz Ara is one of the artisans in India who creates our yarn. She struggles due to being a woman and a widow:
"My life is difficult as I am a widow. I stay with my mother but cannot be a burden on her as I also have a four-year-old child. There is an acute shortage of regular work as I have little professional skills. However, the introduction of ribbon stitching and related yarn work has come like an elixir of life for me. Now without any harsh working conditions, I can earn quite a lot per day. I take care of my child at the same time and provide him food and medical care at a satisfactory level. My plight has inspired other women of my locality and seeing the change in my life they too are attempting to get this job as it is safe and like a regular cottage industry job. It has the potential of changing the lives of rural women and children."
- Bi Shannaz Ara
Thanks to our community, Bi Shannaz Ara's hard work creating ribbon is recognized and she is able to live comfortably and support her child. She does not have to rely on anyone but herself to provide for her family. This is the first step towards independence and empowerment!
Beni, one of our suppliers in Nepal, has dedicated her life to helping empower women in her own community. After an earthquake, Beni stepped up as a community leader and was able to raise enough money to help rebuild the roofs of over 500 homes and 3 schools.
Beni, along with her husband David, runs The Steps Foundation. This foundation works to create societal change in Nepal. Beni works to teach women and girls about menstrual health, education, and their legal rights.
Having survived a violent marriage in her past. Beni also works to help women escape their abusive husbands and divorce them. In Nepal, it is very uncommon for a woman to be granted a divorce, even when there's proof of abuse, so many women turn to Beni for help. Beni is their rock, representing them and being their voice while making sure that they have a safe job and their children are protected.
Without women like Beni, the world would be a lot darker.
The best part of the DGY community is how we build each other up. We frequently see women supporting each other in our Facebook groups - which inspires us to work harder to make sure that we can empower as many women around the world as possible!
Our customers inspire us everyday with their acts of kindness and support. Recently, we had a big giveaway and a TON of people entered - all they had to do was let us know what they would create if they won the yarn giveaway. All of the entries were wonderful, sharing personal stories about how they would create for the important people in their lives. One entry, from our friend Clarissa, left an impression on us:
"I subscribe to these for my mom, who won't buy herself nice yarn. She says she's not good enough at crocheting to deserve the nice stuff. As someone who owns a lot of the stuff she's made, and as her oldest child, I obviously disagree, and like to buy from here for holidays so she can have some nicer yarn than the dollar store stuff she insists on. If I won this Editor's box I would give it to her. She'd probably make hats for a clothing drive at one of her schools (she's a Special Education Coach at a Charter School) or make a baby blanket for a friend. I'd try to talk her into making something for herself for once. If I won this it would be a nice way of giving my mom something special."
Clarissa's desire to win for her mother, to empower her and her art, this message was so honest and kind that we knew we would have to share it! This is the kind of care that women, related or not, need to show each other.
What You Can Do
It doesn't have to be International Women's Day for you to help out the women in your community- and I can promise you, there are women in your local community that need help!
Use our good friend Google - check to see if there are any women's shelters or girls houses in your area and contact them to see what they need! Many shelters are in dire need of sanitary, clothing, or monetary donations. Or be like Clarissa, and work to support and empower the women that you love in your life.
Don't be afraid to help your sisters around the world, too! Check out amazing sites like Womenforwomen.org , which is a foundation that focuses on helping women who are survivors of war and conflicts.
You can of course help the women in our community as well!
For every 1,000 new subscribers to our Yarn of the Month Club, we can employ 1 artisan for an entire year. A subscription each month may seem like a small treat for yourself, but it is a livelihood for the women in our community.
Take the time to love the women in your life everyday!
If you or someone you love is in need of help, please reach out to one of these amazing groups: