We meet companies almost every way imaginable. Some we find on Instagram or doing our own Internet searches, while others we will stumble on in the store or through one of your suggestions (which we love!). We also meet companies at the various trade shows we attend around the country, which is how we connected with PURPOSE Jewelry at the POOLTRADESHOW in Las Vegas. It was a vast sensory-overloaded sea of fast, cheap clothing and jewelry, so meeting Michelle Johnson, Head of Distribution, and the team of PURPOSE Jewelry there was almost the equivalent of an oasis in the desert as cliché as that may sound. These ladies are the real deal and we are so excited to share this interview with you!
The SHE Team: We LOVE to hear the story of how a company got its name! What does your name mean and how did you choose it?
Michelle: We love that our name is two-fold in that the jewelry gives our artisans purpose and significance in their lives as they heal and transform after enduring such horrific abuses. On the flip side, our customers find purpose through wearing the jewelry, knowing they have been able to make a difference in the lives of our artisans through purchasing with PURPOSE®! Our logo icon stands for “FREEDOM” and our tagline is “Wear Freedom,” which empowers the customer to take a stand in fighting for freedom!
The SHE Team: “Ethical” products don’t always seem fashionable. But you break the mold with very fashion-forward, BEAUTIFUL pieces! Can you tell us more about your commitment to creating fashionable products to promote?
Michelle: Thank you so much! Our founder, Stephanie Pollaro (right), was the original jewelry designer and her vision was to see a product that was easily sellable and trendy here in the United States. She always looked at seasonal jewelry trend reports and followed popular styles, while putting her own unique twist on the pieces. She also wanted the jewelry to be sold at a very moderate price point, so that customers would be able to purchase again and again! Our most popular pieces are definitely the mixed metal designs.
The SHE Team: Every purchase fights modern-day slavery. How do you empower survivors through your partnership with International Sanctuary?
Michelle: So PURPOSE Jewelry is actually the brand under our nonprofit, International Sanctuary (iSanctuary). PURPOSE Jewelry is the social enterprise component. All of our iSanctuary program participants are survivors of sex trafficking. When they come to us, their immediate need is employment. This helps them get back on their feet and make a living. That is where PURPOSE Jewelry comes in. The young women are trained on how to make the jewelry and then are paid a very good wage. There are many different ways for them to move up and take on different roles as well. iSanctuary also provides additional support for the young women – including education, mentoring, counseling, medical care, and community. They are able to see themselves as worthy, dignified and full of purpose!
The SHE Team: It seems too simple to be true…so how does purchasing a piece of PURPOSE Jewelry support freedom for victims of human trafficking? What do you really want women to know?
Michelle: It is simple: The more jewelry we sell, the more survivors we are able to serve! Your purchases directly impact our work, and contribute to the financial empowerment of our women.
The SHE Team: What is the inspiration for your new Spring line (and what is your personal fav piece!?)
Michelle: This new line is so fun (Probably my favorite!). There are colorful statement pieces, like the Maya and La Jolla necklace, along with trendy chokers, geometric earrings, and unique rings! It is light, breezy and beachy. The collection name is “Begin Anew.” When each young woman walks through the iSanctuary doors, she is given the opportunity to start over, heal, and experience life transformation.
The SHE Team: What's your favorite healthy guilty pleasure when the going gets tough?
Michelle: Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds! They are dangerously addicting!
The SHE Team: How can our readers best link arms and cheer you on??
Michelle: We would love your support! You can shop our new Spring collection online or even host a trunk show for us! Hosting a trunk show is a great way to empower and support survivors, educate about modern day slavery, and have fun with friends and family!
We also have a campaign happening for our new Uganda sanctuary to open and there are a lot of ways to help fundraise for this! We can’t do this alone, and would love all of your help in any way you desire. Check out the details here.
Our thanks to Michelle Johnson (left) for giving us a glimpse into the journey and passion of PURPOSE Jewelry through this interview!
We absolutely love this company, these women, and the mission of freedom and PURPOSE that it stands for, so we’d love it if you’d go check them out!