In March 2016, I started Hathorway started as a hobby. By day, I was leading the design team as Head of Design for an HR tech startup in Palo Alto; and by night and weekends, I would make earrings, bracelets and necklaces. It was a therapeutic activity that allowed me to get into my creative zone by making something by hand; and it gave me time to take a break from all digital screens.
And after reflecting on my year at the end of 2017, I felt unsatisfied with my career in tech. I wanted to make things people will love, I wanted to expand my world and meet new people, but most of all I wanted to make a difference to those who really need while exploring a childhood dream I had. So I left my job in February 2018 to pursue my childhood dream in fashion by running Hathorway full-time. I knew I didn't want Hathorway to be any ordinary brand but one that gives back like Toms who helps provide shoes, sight and water to people in need and Causebox who partners with a different impactful charities to help those in need.
Over the last few months, I began building out Hathorway...
- In February, I was focused on my brand, philosophy, and messaging.
- In March, I was focused on designing and developing my products.
- In April, I was focused on photography, my look book and the e-commerce store.
- In May, I was focused on how to get Hathorway out there through marketing and SEO.
I was so caught up with all the day-to-day tasks and projects that I had forgot about my original goal on giving back. Then I met Evelyne Keomian at a Rising Tide meet-up in Palo Alto. We introduced ourselves and told our stories.
Rising Tide Silicon Valley | Photo by Komal Nadeem
Evelyne was single mother from the Ivory Coast with very little to no education and income; she moved to California to provide her son and herself with a better opportunity. Immediately I felt a connection to her and her story as it reminded me of my mother's story - as she fled Vietnam from the war with very little education and income. Evelyne then told me about The Karat School Project, an organization she started to provide education to underprivileged children and mothers in the Ivory Coast of Africa.
A few weeks later, I reached out to Evelyne with an idea (though it felt more like a calling). We met up for coffee along with one of her Board of Director, Maeve Rees and kickstarted our time together with a little prayer asking God for guidance. After learning more about each other and the possibilities of what we could do together, we wanted to work together.
Maeve Rees (Director of The Karat School Project), Jessica Phan (Founder of Hathorway), Evelyne Keomian (Founder of The Karat School Project)
Together, we'll be doing a few events where 10% of any Hathorway purchase will be donated to The Karat School Project to help them jumpstart an amazing new education center in the Ivory Coast of Africa, which will have 3 early childhood education classroom:
- After school education programs that will include learning basic computer skill for children
- Reading and writing program for school age children who are not enrolled in school
- Skill learning for mothers
We also have a jewelry collection that is dedicated for the The Karat School Project, where 10% of all online purchases made from Hathorway's new Bridal Jewelry Collection is donated to this wonderful initiative to end illiteracy.
Personally, I am so excited to see the positive impact on lives of these children and mothers because "education is only true equalizer. It is the only way a culture can develop and sustain its development." You can help make an impact by...
- Donating to The Karat School Project directly on their website
- Making a purchase from Hathorway's Bridal Jewelry Collection
If you can't help fiscally at the moment, you can always help by sharing this blog post or links with your friends and family to help spread these initiatives.
Radiate Beauty Inside and Out,
P.S. If you know of any other amazing organizations and initiatives that empowers women through justice, science, education and other opportunities, don't hesitate to recommend them to me. I would love to learn more about them for a potential partnership; email me at email@example.com.