This post is part of our new “Impact” series, and was written by S&P contributor Meredith Mohr.
It all began in Jessica Honegger’s living room with a few boxes of jewelry and a plan. The plan was to bring home a little boy from Rwanda, their third son, to a family where his dreams could grow and he would be loved ferociously.
While the details of their adoption began to come together, yet another plan was blooming right in their midst… Something that started as a simple fundraiser began to develop into an international business whose purpose is creating a path for so many others to find a place to grow their own dreams.
And so, three years later, Noonday Collection is an ever-expanding business of jewelry, accessories and treasures, handmade and crafted by artisans in ten countries around the world. It has created sustainable employment and economic opportunity for more than 1,000 people in several impoverished countries. The company provides respected jobs at livable wages, no-interest loans, scholarship programs, emergency assistance and long-term trade options to their employees, and besides that, Noonday Collection firmly believes every child belongs in a family and has kept orphan care and prevention close to their hearts.
Click through the jump to hear more about their mission and impact, and to see Jessie style up some of the gorgeous pieces from their new fall collection…
“Our team is truly an amazing group of people and they inspire me,” Jessica says. “We definitely love that we are working to create a more beautiful world, and that our work contributes to an empowerment model that helps others rise out of poverty. We have so much fun with fashion in the office, but the purpose behind the fashion is what truly drives us.”
As a way to grow the reach of their mission, they’ve also started the Ambassador Program, which provides women a way to give back by getting involved in the movement of purchasing with purpose. By becoming an Ambassador, women can host trunk shows in their homes and communities, while sharing the life-changing work of Noonday Collection through the social nature of shopping and fashion.
“No matter what your current “work” situation is, one thing is for sure- God wants to use you to create a flourishing world– a world where justice prevails, where the hungry are fed, where the wanderer has shelter and where other people can, well, WORK!” Jessica said. “Having this conversation in community is crucial if we are to thrive and enjoy God the way He intended.”
Jessica has always had a flair for style, and was really more of a jewelry-stand-girl instead of a lemonade-stand-girl as a kid, but after a heart-changing trip to Kenya as a teen, she became something of an activist as well. It was here where she learned that all people were created in the image of God and had the ability to take a seed and make it grow. She learned that entrepreneurship was sustainable and aid was not.
“When the idea of Noonday was born into my heart, I thought it was too good to be true… What we do is: harness fashion and create a movement of women in the US who love shopping and love others (though not in that order), all while connecting talented people from really vulnerable places to the marketplace that exists here,” Jessica said. “Noonday creates work in hard places – many places where I have lived – and I often feel the sense of paradise restored when I visit our artisans.”
Noonday Collection now looks back on the last several years, and they see so many more dreams accomplished, countless families and children impacted, and a community of women who are blessed by the experience of helping it all happen… Though the inspiration began in the charming colorful markets of faraway places, Noonday Collection is truly in the business of hope and dreams – and that’s a business that looks pretty good on.