Gracie Greene owned by Cathy Zahn creates tote bags and pillows made from upcycled burlap coffee bean bags, leathers, cowhide, and designer fabrics to make one of a kind pieces. The funds from the sales goes towards supporting the Zahn School they built last year in order to give the children, especially the girls in Cambodia a chance at life.
What inspired you to open Gracie Greene?
I read “Half the Sky” by N. Kristof several years ago and was inspired to do something to help by the end of the book. The book is a collection of worldwide devastations compiled by Kristof and his wife, writers of the NYTimes.
Many of the girls in Cambodia are part of human trafficking rings by the age of 10. My thinking was that if we could educate the girls and boys too, they might have a chance to stand up for themselves and have a chance at life.
In some cases a child’s own father will sell the child for $50, this is how desperate these people are.
There is a program within our school that will give a child’s parent $50 if the child has perfect attendance during the school year. This now incentivizes the parents to keep the child in school vs working in the fields.
I wanted to create a product for sale to raise the funds needed to build the school instead of just running Fund Raisers, which I knew my friends would support but I wanted a wider reach.
Why did you chose to use burlap coffee bean bags?
We decided to bring recycling into the equation and landed on burlap coffee bean bags. This helps to promote some Fair Trade Farmers as well. I wanted a recycled item and I knew that coffee bean sacks are often covered in vibrant graphics.
I like to use the real sack that has traveled on boats and trucks from far away places instead of just buying burlap at the store. There are still beans in the bags when I get them.
Each pillow and tote has a label attached that describes what the purchase is getting for the student. Right now the labels state that every purchase is going towards a share in a computer and English language program which we are close to completing the funding for. Other labels state that the purchase gives school supplies to 10 children for the year.
The school enrolls over 400 students and 2 bathrooms have recently been donated and built. The computer and English language program is next to be supplied.
-Cathy Zahn, Gracie Greene
If you would like to support this cause, and buy a pillow or tote, enter the code 707AVE at the checkout to receive 15% off your total purchase: http://graciegreene.com/